Why the Rush to Buy Milk and Bread When Predictions of Snow

Ever wonder why people rush to buy milk and bread when we receive a prediction of snow? Reports of local grocery stores’ stock of milk and bread seem to go hand in hand with weather reports of predictions of snow. But we wanted to know why and we think we found an answer.

According to AccuWeather.com, we might be able to thank a particular region for at least some of it.

“It appears that New Englanders can take credit for the purchasing of milk and bread prior to the storm,” the site reported. “It was the monumental blizzard in 1978 that trapped many in homes for weeks that gets at least some credit for the current tradition.”

In November 2014, Virginia Montanez set out to unravel the mystery for Pittsburgh magazine. What she found was that during one of that city’s worst snowstorms, which began on November 24, 1950, an article in a local newspaper referenced milk as “the one shortage that has hit all sections” and bread as being “doled out in some stores” because of a storm that ultimately brought almost 3 feet of snow.

Regarding toilet paper? Montanez shared a theory about a reference to folks being advised to cooperate by “buying what they need.”

“I don’t know about you, but when I’m listing the things we NEED, if we’re going to be snowed in for the next few days, toilet paper is damn sure going to be one of them,” she wrote.

In all seriousness, here are some supplies to consider having on hand should you be stuck inside for a couple of days from the American Red Cross:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • Deluxe family first aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

Check out the full list of emergency supplies here.


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Donna is one of those former corporate types (Xerox) who wanted to try something new. She went from marketing to blogger and now Style Editor, and is always on the look out for what’s trending in restaurants, new stores, charity events and entertainment. To keep up the pace, Donna is usually found drinking at least one Cold Brew a day or on a busy day make it two.