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Salsa made with a drill, and more: TikTok offers glimpses of life during the Texas storm

The videos show water rushing through broken ceilings into darkened rooms. Food heated over open flame. Hungry and enterprising home cooks making condiments with power tools.

No, these aren’t scenes from the latest dystopian sci-fi thriller. They’re TikToks from Texas, where winter storms have stranded millions without water or power. The videos, which offer the rest of the world a fly-on-the-wall view of what’s happening right now, range from the giddily creative (see: salsa made with a handdrill) to downright harrowing (see: homes being destroyed by water pouring forth from burst pipes).

Let’s start with the salsa. Endemic to Texas’s regional cuisine, it’s a must-have for many residents of the Lone Star state. The proof is in the sheer number of TikToks featuring homemade salsa.

For the less culinary inclined, making salsa usually involves roasting a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers and fillintheblank, and then tossing it all into a blender or a food processor to break it down into a substance fit for a tortilla chip. One problem: The winter storm has left millions of hungry Texans without power, rendering blenders inoperable.

Right? Wrong! A cordless drill does the trick. Just put your roasted veggies in the container, put a top on it, fit a drillbit into the bottom of the blender and rev her up. Voilà, dinner is served. In most of the videos, amateur salsa makers practice the craft over a sink or a kitchen counter.

One horse rancher has chronicled each day of the storm, which found her breaking ice with a rock to give her animals water. Another revealed her frozen ranch. On her TikTok video, she wrote, “We are not ok here in Texas. No water, no electricity. Day 4. Charging phones in our truck. Snow/sleet still falling.”

Another video, from Austin, features water pouring in through a jagged hole in the ceiling into overflowing buckets. “Texas is a nightmare right now,” reads its caption. “Nothing is built for these temperatures.” One user in Houston shows what appears to be a home office, with water flowing onto a computer. Many, many, many more showed similar scenes of water destruction.

The videos, even the dark ones, all share one thing: They make an untenable situation more tenable by creating community. And, in many videos, glimmers of admirable selflessness shine through. There are many TikToks dedicated to teaching others to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. And some people offer to share their resources with others.

After getting power back, a woman in Fort Worth recorded herself saying, “If you are in the area or if your power is still out and you need somewhere to come, you can come here. We can share our heat with you.”

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