Pros: Fun reading; great info
Cons: Couldn’t review the full book for you
Rating: A provisional 4 out of 5
Excerpt provided free by publisher.
The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson aims to, with the aid of hilarity, teach you to eat your way through the end of the world. Please note that I only had access to a 26-page PDF excerpt for the purposes of this review, so I can’t speak to the entire manuscript. Also, since I didn’t have access to more than a couple of recipes, I’m not including my usual discussion of recipes I’ve actually tried.
The narrative voice is light and breezy, both poking fun at the idea of a zombie apocalypse (“often referred to in survivalist circles as the zpoc”) and gamely going into detail about food-related survival techniques. I quite enjoyed the style; it’s fun to read and holds my interest.
A great section of “oven hacks” teaches the reader how to put together an apparatus for cooking things. The excerpt includes directions for turning a metal container into an oven with the use of fire or embers, and it promises more information about things such as earth ovens in the full book. You’ll also find methods for judging approximate temperature, in terms of how long you can hold your hand six inches from the source, how the embers look, or how far your vessel is from the flames. I have no idea how accurate these are, but they certainly sound handy.
I’m particularly entertained by the section, “overnight of the living dead French toast”. The idea is that you’re going to need to quickly use up all your most perishable ingredients on the first night of the zombie apocalypse, and you might even still be able to use your stove that first morning. So you might as well start off the day right with a big ol’ batch of French toast! I love the gung-ho attitude in this. I don’t know if this is an artifact of the excerpt, but this recipe is followed immediately by a recipe for roasted crickets, which is a hilarious juxtaposition. I appreciated that this recipe included the warning,
In fact, if you have a shellfish allergy you should not eat crickets, grasshoppers, or cicadas. They are members of the arthropod family, along with shrimp, crab, and lobster.
That’s the sort of genuinely helpful, thoughtful advice you don’t expect to see in something that has such a humorous bent. I also love the zpoc food pyramid, which divides things into categories such as antioxidants, electrolytes, and iron, among others.
Two sections that I thought were particularly nicely done were one on growing sprouts and one on harvesting kelp. Good sources of nutrition are a big deal when thrust into a survival situation, so I thought these were both interesting and useful. The kelp section even includes drawings of various kinds of kelp to help you identify it, with directions for how best to use each type.
There’s a section on MREs which includes an example of using MRE components to create slightly different dishes. It’s a handy reminder to readers that they can think outside of the box, even when their food comes in one. All in all it’s a really fun read, and I’m looking forward to seeing the full book when it comes out!