We weren't terribly hard-hit, in the Washington area, by Hurricane Irene, but nevertheless, when people hear that a category-3 hurricane is headed their way, they do tend to prepare a bit.
We naturally assume the power will go out during such storms. Oddly, it didn't, this time, but normally it takes little more than the breeze stirred by a butterfly's wing to knock out our power around here. Nevertheless, the frequency of being without electricity for days has created a whole new branch of cuisine as we all try to plan for having a several meals without having to open the fridge.
Sausage (to be grilled outdoors), potato salad, the makings of a chicken sandwich, all in the cooler? Sure. But we also make sure we have some of the stuff that doesn't need cooking: Canned tuna, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, ham, canned soup (which can be heated on the grill if you're persnickety), crackers and such. I believe I could probably live for a week on potato chips - but that's just me. These things are generally around the house, so we don't usually race out to the grocery store to stock up.
This article offers a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the things people buy. Most of the snack foods mentioned here don't appeal much (pop tarts? no thanks!) though the mention of Twinkies elicits a slight sniffle of childhood nostalgia -- a favorite then, but I haven't eaten one in probably over 50 years, not even a deep fried one. On the other hand, I recommend Spam as the perfect food for the "powerless." It needs no refrigeration and you can do almost anything with it: cold from the can with a spoon, sliced on crackers or in a sandwich, cooked on a grill, tie it in a knot/tie it in a bow... you name it. Unfortunately my wife, whom I love dearly but in a very few minor matters suffers from blind spots, turns up her nose at the thought of Spam, so I don't buy it. A power-outage food that not everyone in the house will eat isn't very practical.
Another useful point that I was reminded of in the storm: So much of the bottled food we buy - condiments, salad dressings, and the like - come with reminders to "refrigerate after opening." I was astounded to find that legend on a bottle of rice vinegar I bought just the other day. Vinegar? C'mon, now! I suppose mayonnaise still should be kept chilled (though I suspect the commercial version these days has enough preservatives to choke a horse) but otherwise I think back to days of yore, when I can clearly recall my mother never kept such stuff as salad dressing in the refrigerator. We kept only mustard there, because my dad thought mustard tasted better cold (same with his bottled picked pigs' feet). Even today, we still don't keep ketchup, chili sauce, or hot sauces under refrigeration. A lot of these items, loaded with salt and other preservatives, seem to do just fine on the shelf.