The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but it is also a time of chaos. Imagine what would happen if during all of the holiday’s sales a zombie apocalypse occurred? That would be a very Black Friday, indeed. Surviving the Zpoc would be a whole new level of Holidaze. The thought of Pumpkin Spice Zombies frightens me more than anything.
When dealing with zombies and other apocalypses, one thing that I find is often missing is a discussion of keeping yourself fed. Sure, weapons and shelter are important. Fighting off hunger and thirst is crucial however to keep fighting off the undead hordes.
Thankfully, at this wonderful time of the year, we now have two excellent cookbooks and survival guides catering to the zombie apocalypse. It might come as a surprise that they were both written by the same author. The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide just came out this October. The same author, Lauren Wilson, also wrote The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide in 2014, which I lovingly call the Zpoc Cookbook.
Both are reliable resources that read like experienced prepper’s guides. Both have thorough chapters on improving our survival skills. They aren’t gimmicks, either. I think even the Boys and Girls Scouts would learn a thing or two. Les Stroud would be proud.
The included recipes differ dramatically, however. The Walking Dead Cookbook’s recipes are inspired primarily by characters and locations from the series. (Like Carl’s Chocolate Pudding or The Kingdom’s Breakfast Cobbler.) The Zpoc Cookbook, however, has more relatable recipes but with the usual campy names. (Like The Wok-ing Dead Stir-Fry and Wasteland Cupcakes.)
In many ways, the TWD Cookbook is an updated version of the Zpoc Cookbook. The chapter structure is a bit more organized and it simplifies a few concepts. It is also, of course, packed full of references to the characters of the TV show.
One thing that the TWD cookbook has that the other lacks is a whole chapter on alcoholic beverages. The Zpoc Cookbook does have a recipe for a mead, which would be excellent for barter, but that’s it. Conspicuously absent from both is a classic Zombie recipe, though TWD has a killer drink called The Walker which looks tasty. TWD also describes how to make mead. I think they both missed the opportunity for more instructions on how to make other boozes.
For example, I was at first excited to see the recipe for Cherry Moonshine in the TWD, but this is actually just how to take Everclear and fortify it with cherry syrup. Tasty for other cocktails, true, but learning basic distillation, like say to make applejack, would be a useful skill. (Yes, distillation is still illegal in most places, but during the apocalypse, I think prohibition is going to be the least of anyone’s worries.) Distilling alcohol can be useful as a way to make fuel as well, which will be handy in a post-apocalyptic gas shortage. For that matter, distilling water would be a vital skill, but while the Zpoc briefly mentions a solar still, the TWD only discussed boiling and filtration.
While both books do cover fishing and hunting and recipes for such wild game that you might catch (each has a squirrel recipe, for example), neither cookbook heavily features recipes using the food you have foraged, grown, or preserved yourself. There was one recipe in TWD Cookbook for chocolate chunk cookies that does make use of applesauce, and later provides a recipe for making and preserving your own applesauce for stocking up during harvest season. However, the majority of the recipes assume you have a decently stocked pantry and icebox and that you are willing to use your rations. For example, I think you’d be hard-pressed to sacrifice eggs and milk to make a homemade batch of chocolate pudding rather than stock up on canned chocolate pudding. I’m sure Carl would understand.
I was pleasantly surprised that neither cookbook resorts to parody recipes or kitschy Halloween gimmicks, and thank goodness for no recipes featuring brains or “long pig”. If you would like that kind of thing, you can find my take on The Walking Dead Terminus Tavern “Human Burger” recipe here on Horror Addicts to try. But I digress.
The Walking Dead Cookbook is an excellent coffee table cookbook. The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse is a standard paperback size which would be more practical in a Bug-Out-Bag. They would both be fun gifts this holiday season. Really the question is are you a fan of The Walking Dead or a zombie fan in general? I think The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse may be the better resource, and it is less expensive if that matters. Both books have Kindle versions available. If you can’t decide, you can always buy both, like I did.
As Lauren says in The Walking Dead Cookbook, “Living or dead, there’s one thing that unites us all—hunger.” During the zombie apocalypse, holiday gatherings with your family, friends, and fellow survivors will mean more than ever.