I’m not usually a fan of cookbooks that are pop culture parodies. But with Halloween just a week away and the new season of The Walking Dead already begun, I couldn’t resist flipping through The Snacking Dead by D.B Walker, a pseudonym for the same author who wrote the New York Times bestseller Fifty Shades of Chicken (which I didn’t read).
The cookbook chronicles a mother’s quest to keep herself, her children and her bad-ass boyfriend alive in the face of a zombie apocalypse. It starts, humorously, in a grocery store where Pam Beaumont has no choice but to buy Velveeta cheese (an “undead” food that she would’ve never allowed in her house before), and where she must lop off the head of a teenage stockboy. He “had once been a boy Ronnie’s age, with parents, friends, and involuntary boners. Now he was cleanup in aisle 6.”
From there she and her family (who’ve commandeered an ice cream truck) find themselves in all sorts of perilous situations, each gory account accompanied by a recipe and a tip.
For example, at a brunch party, a zombie friend shows up and turns it into a breakfast blood bath. The accompanying recipe: “Gutted Mushrooms with Bacon and Spinach.” The Tip: “Walkers are attracted by sounds, bright light, and the smell of people, but they can’t smell bacon. Quickly sort biters from survivors with the powerful aroma of bacon.”
Having fled FEMA (there’s just not enough food to go around), Pam and her family are left to their own devices. They slather stinky camembert all over themselves for protection and run into other survivors draped in rotten fish who are fighting over the same bag of supplies. Pam promises to bake them cookies (“Virulently Infectious Butterscotch Chocolate Chippers”) if they give up the bag. The fishy group concedes. “Bring hostile survivor groups together with baskets of cookies and other treats. Baked goods are the foundation upon with future civilizations will be rebuilt.”
Then there’s the time when Pam and her eight-year-old son Ronnie are held at gunpoint by two men dressed as knights who bring them to a castle. Once there, the knights remove their armor to reveal flannel work shirts and jeans and offer them a “Secretly Sadistic Jalapeno Popper.” The hide-out is, in fact, a medieval themed restaurant called Canterbury Times. “Theme restaurants make good hideouts during crises, with their large interior spaces, elaborate food preparation facilities, and defensible facades. But you’re better off bringing your own food.” Indeed, the humor is laden with some elemental culinary truths.
The adventures continue, as pizza peels turn weaponry, cannibal babysitters attack, coffee-deprived citizens die in pursuit of the nearest Starbucks and a batch of vegan hummus from “crappy cafeteria supplies” just might save the day.
Divided into four sections, “Appetizers for an Apocalypse,” “Eating on the Run,” “Messy Bites for the Newly Dead” and “Last Call” the book offers up mostly party, tailgating style food: lots of variations on nachos, wings and sandwiches (grilled cheese, sloppy Joes, and po’ boys). There’s also plenty of comfort food like “Last Stand Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter” and “Maple Brined Pork Chops with Red-Eyes Gravy.”
I can’t vouch for the recipes, but this book would certainly make a fun gift for a Walking Dead fanatic, for anyone who throws parties with hearty eating guests who don’t mind messy food or for stoners looking for a little variation in their repertoire.