Morbid Meals Holidaze – Eating Your Way Through the Zpoc

 

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.

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Finale Guest: G TOM MAC

For the finale, Dan Shaurette interviewed with one of our favorite musicians, a legend in the industry of soundtracks for TV and film as well as playing on tour, Mr. Gerard McMahon, aka G TOM MAC.

gtommac

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of The Lost Boys! Of course his song, “Cry Little Sister” is forever linked to the movie.

All through the 80’s and 90’s and beyond he left his mark on many film and TV soundtracks. The compilation album Full Circle of Mad Years runs the gamut from Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Chasing Amy and more. Hell, KISS covered his song “Is That You” on their hit album Unmasked.

He is still writing and performing. His music can be found in two upcoming movies. The new Lionsgate film Grey Lady which hits theaters this later this year, and you can spot G in the movie singing the movie’s theme song, “Eyes on the Prize”. Plus there’s the upcoming comedy The Best Thanksgiving Ever which he wrote all of the music for.

In 2017, he’s releasing a new album called THOU and he will be playing gigs around the country to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Lost Boys.

We hope you join us for the season finale, premiering October 22, to hear the interview with G TOM MAC. To find out more about him and his music, please visit GTOMMAC.com.

Morbid Meals – Tribute to The Stuff

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EXAMINATION

About the only thing we know about The Stuff is that “enough is never enough”. It was discovered oozing up from the ground at a petroleum chemical plant in the 80’s and it was very tasty, addictive, and mind-altering, all before it eventually caused consumers to explode. We sent in a crazy corporate spy to find out the formula, but he was unsuccessful. So, here’s my attempt using all natural ingredients.

thestuff

ANALYSIS

Yield: about 1 1/2 pints

Ingredients

12 oz cream cheese, softened
10 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract or other clear flavoring (optional)

Apparatus

  • Mixing bowl
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer

Procedure

  1. In the mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Mix in the condensed milk, a little at a time, to keep the mixture smooth with no clumps.
  3. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until velvety smooth.
  4. Pour into serving containers and let it set in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

DISSECTION

Feel free to add any flavor extract you like to amp up the flavor, just be sure it is clear so that The Stuff stays pristine white.

POST-MORTEM

The Stuff will stay fresh in the fridge for less than a week. After that, well, it might try to come find you.

Some of you may have noticed, this is really the filling for a basic no-bake cheesecake. Here’s some ideas for crusts. Prepare your crust, pour in The Stuff, and chill in your fridge for at least two hours. Top with cherries or whatever you fancy.

You can also make delightful parfaits with alternating layers of fruit, The Stuff, and some crumbled cookies (or graham crackers).

Also, this makes an amazing ice cream base and you don’t even have to churn it (though you can if you have an ice cream churn.) Just pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight. So good!

Really, the options are endless. Remember, “enough is never enough”!

Morbid Meals – Tribute to Motel Hell – Farmer Vincent’s Fritters

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EXAMINATION

Fritters are a great way to use up some of the leftover meats you have from previous meals, or from any stash you might have lying around. Farmer Vincent’s Fritters were very special indeed, as he used some of his famous smoked meats. Don’t bother asking what kind of meats they were, however. His slogan was “it takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s Fritters.” If you do ever venture down to try his fritters, I would recommend not staying at the nearby MOTEL HELLO. In fact, it is probably much safer all around to make these yourself.

fritters

ANALYSIS

Yield: 8 to 10 fritters

Ingredients

Filling
1 1/2 lb cooked and shredded meats of your choice
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
4 strips of bacon
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped, or 1 tsp onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Batter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk or water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste

Oil for frying

Apparatus

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Frying pan or skillet

DISSECTION

There are basically two ways to make fritters. One is to mix the meat filling into the batter and fry them like griddlecakes. The other is to make patties or balls then dip them in batter and deep fry. I provide directions for both below.

Procedure

To prepare the filling
  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together your cooked meats, paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, fry your bacon strips until they are crispy as you like them. Set the bacon strips aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. In the rendered bacon fat, sauté the chopped onions and garlic. When the onions are translucent, pour the onions, garlic, and grease into the meat mixture. Crumble the bacon into bits and add to the meat mixture. Mix well to incorporate.
To make the batter
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat two large eggs, add the milk (or water), and then whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Whisk together until you have a batter with no lumps.
To make the fritter-cakes
  1. If you prefer the griddle cake method, then into your skillet, back over medium heat, add about 2 Tbsp of oil to provide a thick layer of oil to pan fry. Allow this to heat up.
  2. Pour in some of your batter into your meat mixture bowl and mix thoroughly. You may not need all of the batter. The mixture should bind well and maybe be a little loose.
  3. With a large spoon or ladle, measure out enough meat-batter mixture for two cakes. (You can do more if you have room in your skillet or make smaller cakes.) Fry the fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Set the cooked fritters aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
OR – To make the patties for deep-frying
  1. If you prefer the deep fry method, then into your skillet, over medium-high heat, add enough oil to provide at least an inch of oil to fry in. Allow this to heat up to about 325°F.
  2. Divide your meat mixture evenly into either into balls or patties. Some meats don’t form one or the other easily, so this will be a matter of experimentation. By using cooked meats, however, you don’t have to worry about under-cooked food if they are too thick.
  3. With a sturdy pair of tongs (or with your hands if you must), dip your meat into the batter and then gently place into the hot oil.
  4. Cook each fritter until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Set the cooked fritters aside to cool and dry on a paper towel-lined plate.

POST-MORTEM

I like fritters made both ways, and I know this is also a regional thing to prefer one method over the other. Personally, I prefer eating the deep fried patties but they tend to make a bigger mess in my kitchen. Your mileage may vary.

As for serving, the patties or fritter-cakes go well with mashed potatoes and gravy or make excellent sandwiches. The fritter balls are fantastic with honey mustard or sweet-and-sour sauce.

Morbid Meals – Tribute to Se7en – Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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EXAMINATION

It would be a deadly sin to stuff your face with box pasta and canned sauce. Or worse—canned spaghetti—like that poor bastard in the thriller, Se7en. Besides, I think we’ve had enough tomato recipes for now.

What I love about Carbonara is that I can avoid the usual acidic tomato sauces and also not go down the Alfredo route that can give lactose-intolerant folks grief. Like most Italian dishes, there are many ways to prepare this dish. Carbonara is an Italian-American creation dating back to WWII, and as such, recipes vary wildly. This recipe makes the preparation a great deal simpler than the “traditional” method but it is still delicious and different than the usual pasta night.

Spaghetti Carbonara

ANALYSIS

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti, cooked – reserve 1/4 cup of the water
3 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp of garlic powder)
black pepper, freshly ground

Apparatus

  • Mixing bowl
  • Large Saucepan
  • Colander / strainer

Procedure

  1. Cook your spaghetti by the directions on the package. Do NOT strain immediately. Take the pot off the heat but keep the pasta hot in the water while you prepare your sauce.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat your eggs and parmesan cheese together well, breaking up any lumps of cheese. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta/bacon and sauté to render the fat and make the bacon a little crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; if you are using chopped garlic, sauté until the garlic is soft, about a minute. Remove your saucepan from the heat.
  4. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the rest from your pasta and add the noodles to your saucepan, tossing together to evenly coat all of the noodles.
  5. Pour your egg and cheese mixture over the pasta in the saucepan and toss it all together, allowing the eggs to thicken without scrambling. Add a little bit of water as needed to melt the cheese into a velvety smooth consistency.
  6. Season with the black pepper, from a pepper mill if you have one.
  7. Serve the pasta with a side dish of extra cheese to sprinkle on as desired.

DISSECTION

I was worried when I mixed the cheese in with the eggs as it made a thick paste at first. However, once the water was added later, it smoothed out into a rich, luscious sauce.

POST-MORTEM

We will make this many times over. The kids loved the sauce. I was afraid they would turn their noses up at the eggs, but the sauce does not taste of eggs. All you taste is Parmesan and bacon. So basically heaven on pasta.

Morbid Meals – Killer BLT – Tribute to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

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EXAMINATION

In the cult classic black comedy, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, one of the random acts of violence perpetrated by these deadly nightshades was that a man was attacked by a BLT sandwich. What a horribly boring way to die. If I’m going to go out, I think that should be one killer BLT. Here’s my attempt at such a monster.

ANALYSIS

Yield: 1 sandwich

Ingredients

3 slices of favorite thick cut bacon, pancetta, and/or prosciutto
1/4 cup arugula, or your favorite lettuce
2 Tbsp Creamy Tomato Spread (see below)
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 slices sourdough bread, or your favorite bread
butter

Apparatus

  • Frying pan, skillet, or griddle

Procedure

  1. Grill the bacon over medium heat until fully cooked and is to your preferred level of crispiness. Set aside on paper towels to soak up the grease.
  2. Butter both sides of each piece of bread and grill until golden on both sides.
  3. Add shredded cheese to one slice of bread, allowing it to melt.
  4. Layer the bacon on top of the melted cheese. Spread some Creamy Tomato Spread on the other slice of bread, and sprinkle on arugula. Put other slice of bread on top.
  5. Cut in half and serve.

Creamy Tomato Spread

Yield: about a cup (for about 8 servings)

Serving Size: about 2 Tbsp per sandwich, to your taste

Ingredients

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
1/4 tsp dried basil (or 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped)
1/4 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp hot sauce (optional, for a little kick)
6 oz can of tomato paste
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Procedure

  1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, herbs, spices, sugar, and salt together and mix well.
  2. Add the tomato paste and yogurt. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Save in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. This will stay fresh for about a week.

DISSECTION

If you have a panini sandwich press or the like, feel free to use it instead, but I’m partial to an old-fashioned grilled sandwich myself.

POST-MORTEM

I’ve never been a fan of tomatoes on sandwiches. They’re messy and I don’t find their plain flavor terribly appetizing. This spread on the other hand brings all the flavor to the party.

This sandwich pairs wonderfully with a nice hot bowl of tomato bisque, to really show those tomatoes who’s boss.

Morbid Meals – Homemade Twinkies in Tribute to Ghostbusters and Zombieland

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EXAMINATION

“Tell him about the Twinkie, Ray.”
In the original Ghostbusters movie, Dr. Egon Spengler portrayed by the late, great Harold Ramis compared the usual psychokinetic activity in New York to the size of a Twinkie. Of course, with all of the increased supernatural shenanigans, that relative Twinkie would be “thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.” The new reboot didn’t mention Twinkies, but there is a new tie-in Key Lime Slime version that is very tasty.

“Where are you, you spongy, yellow, delicious bastards?”
In the movie Zombieland, Woody Harrelson’s character Tallahassee searched everywhere in vain to find a box of Twinkies during the zombie apocalypse. Bill Murray is in both of these movies, but in Zombieland, Bill didn’t have any Twinkies either. Sorry, Tallahassee.

Little did they know that Hostess would actually declare bankruptcy and Twinkies would become a rare treat. That is, of course, until they made a comeback. During that void of no Twinkies, I learned how to make snack cakes. If we end up with another shortage, Zombie-related or not, now we can all have Twinkies. This version also has less “junk” even though I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “healthy”.

twinkies

ANALYSIS

Yield: 12 cakes

Ingredients

Batter

1 cup pastry flour (or 1 cup AP flour minus 1 Tbsp, plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separate whites & yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Filling

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk

Apparatus

Procedure

For the cakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease your pan.
  2. Sift together the flour (and cornstarch if using it), baking powder, and salt then set aside.
  3. Into two bowls, separate your egg whites from your yolks.
  4. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, first beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Transfer these egg whites to another bowl and set aside. Wipe down your mixer’s bowl.
  5. In the mixer bowl, add your egg yolks, sugar, honey, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat together for about 1 minute.
  6. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. Beat until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer.
  7. With a rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, a small amount at a time, until fully incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the molds of your pan. Do not fill more than 2/3 of the way for each mold.
  9. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
  10. Cool the cakes in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

For the filling

  1. In your stand mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar together.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and milk then beat together until smooth and creamy. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. When the cakes have cooled, use a piping bag to fill each cake with the filling.

DISSECTION

If you want to make gluten-free cakes, replace the flour with 140 grams by weight of gluten-free all-purpose baking mix of your choice.

If you want to celebrate the new Ghostbusters reboot with your own Key lime filling, try this recipe. (Skip the graham cracker crust though, naturally, and maybe add a drop or two of green food coloring.)

For Twinkie aficionados who want the real deal creamy filling, here’s a copycat filling recipe.

POST-MORTEM

These take very little time and preparation. You can fill them with any kind of filling, even coat them in chocolate ganache. Hell, dip ‘em in batter and fry them. (State Fairs rock!) The best thing about making your own Twinkies is in having all the filling you want and then some!