Pros: Funny, useful
Cons: Sense of humor is a matter of personal taste; photos would have been useful
Rating: 4 out of 5
NOTE: Review book provided by publisher
Lauren Wilson’s The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide is a fun, lighthearted way to pick up a few survival tips. It frequently suggests reading resources for additional information, which is good–for example, the drawings of various plants and nuts you can forage would be a lot easier to use with photos instead of drawings. The drawings are nice, speaking of; they add to the fun atmosphere of the book.
Obviously, a guide to survival without many modern conveniences is potentially useful for reasons other than a zombie apocalypse (or ‘zpoc’), but this makes a really fun way to introduce people to the subject. It should have a much wider audience than a straight survival guide. There’s clearly an obsession in modern horror with the question of how we would survive given a civilization-destroying event; The Art of Eating addresses that head-on. There are suggestions for putting together survival bags so that you immediately have a few essentials when the zpoc comes, and those would be potentially useful for everyday. For example: is there a chance your car could break down in an area where you can’t immediately get help? Then keeping these sorts of resources in your car could make such an event much easier to cope with.
This book covers all sorts of things from short-term needs to long-term planning. It presents ways to cook foods that range from extremely simple fire-building to a myriad of ‘oven hacks’ and methods for building more long-term cooking essentials. There are instructions for judging the temperature of your fire to help you cook things properly. You’ll find instructions for preserving food, skinning animals, and scavenging foods from the ruins of civilization. There’s a list of buildings to raid for food and supplies that probably won’t be first on everyone else’s lists, giving you a bit of a head-start.
Instructions for preparing yourself and what to do first vary depending on whether you’re planning on holing up where you are, going out into the wild, or running off to a pre-prepared safehouse. There are instructions for putting together traps and snares, and even creating your own makeshift root cellar to store food in.
If you don’t expect to ever need this book it’s still useful–you never know when a half-remembered survival tip could make all the difference in the world. The zombie-specific humor is fun, but not amazing; however, humor is a personal taste thing, so you might enjoy it more than I did.
If you really want to prepare for a possible apocalyptic scenario, I’d recommend getting some of the many recommended further reading books. For instance, I’d want more thorough instructions on creating snares and so forth. Consider The Art of Eating … as a fun way to see whether you’d enjoy learning more on the topic.