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Bug out plans, survival caches, off-the-grid power, hunting basics, food preservation and end-of-the-world recipes? Yep, it’s all in here delivered in a zombie apocalypse guide from your favorite TV show The Walking Dead. We have just been given a copy of the book, called The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide, and it is a prepping bible.
Do you know how to survive a zombie apocalypse? Sure, it’s likely to never happen but those basic lessons learnt in zombie preparedness have been carried out in real campaigns to prevent the spread of sicknesses and encourage families to take a light-hearted approach to preparedness.
For me, zombie survival comes in a weekly lesson from the long-running series of The Walking Dead and now we have the guide of all of the survival skills and cooking seen in the story of the post-apocalyptic TV show in a well-written practical approach to survival called The AMC Walking Dead Official Cookbook and Survival Guide. This comes from zombie survival author and chef Lauren Wilson (The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse).
When first opening the book, I was expecting to see just a normal application of the story of a bunch of characters surviving in a zombie-filled world and struggling against group of other radical survivors, but no, the ‘guide and cookbook’ goes further than that, which you can see just from looking at the table of contents.
When you’re looking in this guide, you can expect to find some delicious, simple-ingredient recipes as well as being a survival guide for not only a zombie apocalyptic world, but for anything else from disasters, emergencies and wilderness survival.
And that’s just in the first chapter. So you can see that we’re not just dealing with a basic guide, but a prepper’s guide to everything, except it’s delivered in the fun form of a zombie survival setting and uses many of the references to the kit and methods of favourite characters in the series such as Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, Carol and Michonne.
Lauren Wilson’s guide defines survival not only as a means of “risking their lives to fight off countless ‘walkers’ (zombies) and create a safe place” to call home, but also simply as a means of “finding clean water or a single can of baked beans to warm over a makeshift fire”.
But the book isn’t just a marketing tool for the TV show, it goes much deeper than that. In the introduction of the book, Wilson writes “people today tend to lack even the most basic survival skills. Unless you were a Boy Scout or a survivalist, the chance that you can start a fire without lighter fluid and a match is likely slim to none”.
These skills, as the book explains, is what a lot of us don’t really have as it is not something we would use, or need, in everyday life. Much like in the TV show, (which is currently in its eighth season) the characters have evolved from living in first world conditions with no necessity to maintain security, make a fire or hunt. But as the season progresses, so do its characters who eventually become hardened by the survivalist environment they are in where water has to be boiled, animals hunted and where people want to kill them in a zombie survival world.
As Wilson writes in her book, “there’s one thing that unites us all – hunger”. She says if you can learn to satisfy your hunger in an emergency (and that’s not just a zombie apocalypse) then “you might be able to keep the dead from satisfying theirs”.
While Wilson’s book goes into a wide range of detail on survival topics such as different types of fire constructions, post-collapse bartering, seeds and small-space farming, it also sinks its teeth deep into the bones of food prepping, which for a lot of us is a primary preparedness task.
The book is layed out in a manner that covers every aspect of food, looking at first the sourcing of food through hunting, growing, foraging and scavenging for long shelf-life foods. You can gain an appreciation of the depth of detail Wilson has given to this area, such as providing a ‘Quick and Dirty Growing Guide’ where she writes:
Should the day come when your local grocery store has been cleaned out, the only way you’re likely to see another fresh vegetable in your lifetime is if you grow it yourself… Even if you don’t have a patch of land to cultivate, a green thumb can still be put to great use in a cold, gray world.
She continues in detail to give a rundown on seeds, container growing, soil, watering, fertilizing and growing in different environments such as indoor or rooftop gardening. Now while most of it is indeed making references to the show itself and the theme of zombie survival, it also has a very strong practical application not only in a disaster scenario but also in self-reliance living.
For those of you looking not just for a guide to canning, but a guide to game catchment, fishing, harvesting and preserving meat, you’ve essentially got it in a simple form with this book. But as a cook herself, Wilson also takes pride in producing some great and simple home recipes which make up the bulk of the book.
A lot of the recipes included are made on staple strong shelf-life foods and foods that you can either grow or hunt easily, which takes the book full circle from the allocation of food sources, to ideal recipes you could actually use them in.
A few of my favorites when going through the book were:
And those are only a few of the post-collapse recipes for foods, and drinks, in the book.
Okay, so I know I keep referring to zombie survival, but much like the US Centre for Disease Control’s campaign on zombie preparedness, this book effectively does the same thing. It takes a message which is preparedness and survival knowledge and covneys it in a light and easy way of using a popular tv series and the fun theme of zombie survival. But behind the fun is a motivation to make people learn self-reliance.
I am thinking this book would suit you if you are a reader of The Prepping Guide or any other survival or prepping blog, I say that because The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide delves into a lot of the similar content that most of us enjoy reading, learning and putting into practice, in a fun method. But even more, I think this book is a great way to get kids and adults who you have tried to convince to pick up some survival skills, but have not been successful.
If anything, it deserves a laugh at some of the references to zombie survival, while also learning how to light a fire, hunt and find food in a zombie apocalypse.