It is time to present another entry in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival 7 and oh my gosh, I have been wanting to share this book with you since I first came across a pre-release excerpt last summer!
Let me say this: do no be put off by the title as Lauren Wilson, the author of The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse, answers the Book Festival questions and awards one lucky reader with a copy of her book.
But first, let me tell you a little bit about this nifty book.
First of all, the subtitle is “A Cookbook & Culinary Survival Guide”. And yes, there are some fabulous recipes using food storage, but there are also sections on foraging, hunting, fishing, drying, smoking, building outdoor ovens and a whole lot more. Almost every page is lavishly illustrated in color, something that is so very helpful if, for example, you are foraging in the field.
The illustrations further help you picture what you are reading and I don’t know about you, but for me, seeing something graphically greatly increases both my comprehension and reading enjoyment.
Can you tell that I love this book? Anyway, let me turn things over to Lauren. Enjoy interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.
An Interview with Lauren Wilson, Author of The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse
Tell me about your book, The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it about?
Well, simply put, The Art of Eating is a cookbook and culinary survival guide. It traces a rough chronological zpoc narrative – taking readers through a variety of edible landscapes and scenarios as I have imagined they might look should the undead ever actually bring about TEOTWAWKI.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
I am primarily a zombie and food nerd, and before starting the book, I knew very little about emergency preparedness and had few practical survival skills to speak of. Having frequented a few zed boards in my day, I knew that there was a prepper subculture in the zombie community and as I started to flesh out the idea for the book, I realized just how important the survival component would be.
It’s one thing to tell people they should go out and catch a squirrel or forage for nuts, but it’s quite another to actually go out and do it. Because I was a total survival n00b, I wrote with fellow n00bs in mind.
Everything from basic fire skills, finding and purifying water, scavenging, foraging, hunting, fishing, basic game butchery, fermentation, and cooking without electricity to basic implements like a stovetop or oven are covered in the book. Since many books have already been written on each of these topics, I tried to summarize and provide the foundational basics for each. Readers will find many suggestions for additional reading and other resources peppered throughout the book!
I also tried to master as many of the survival techniques as I could. Even basic survival skills like fire building and starting without the aid of a lighter requires lots of patience and practice! There was continual action in my Brooklyn backyard – lots of fire building in a Hibachi, testing out various stove and oven hacks, and tending to various self-irrigated planters (SIPs) with my potting soil recipe.
I also went on several foraging tours with Wildman Steve Brill in Central and Prospect Park, which were always memorable – he is quite the entertaining character and is happy to share his wealth of information.
How long did it take to write?
A loooong while.
People always seemed surprised by the lengthy timelines that go into cookbooks and most books, in general. It took me about a year to flesh out the contents of the book and prepare a proposal. Then, once I connected to BenBella and Smart Pop, I had an additional 10 months to write the rest of the manuscript.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse?
I suppose I hope readers will take away the same message that I did in writing the book – that is, that most of us (ahem, hand raised) have few practical survival skills or have given much thought to emergency preparedness.
Strip away the zombies from this book and all of the skills, techniques, and strategies that I cover would be useful in most any emergency or end-of-world scenario.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I am a professional cook and food writer.
I am also a nerd of many stripes, one of which includes all things zombie. My love of zombies came from the Resident Evil video game franchise. I had been crashing my little brother’s sleepover back in 2001, where he and a friend were playing the original Resident Evil on Playstation.
I was hooked. I would stay up all night, alone in the dark, running (or rather limping) through Raccoon City, trying to find some herb or clue or puzzle piece while also trying to not be consumed by zombies and other nefarious undead monsters. It was a blast!
The idea for the book was given to me by my dear friend Paul, who said to me offhand one day, “You’re a zombie nerd AND a food nerd, you should write a cookbook for the zombie apocalypse!” I loved the idea but sat on it for a couple of years. When I moved to New York about 4 years ago, aside from realizing I was in one of the worst places on the planet in terms of a zombie pandemic, I started to work more seriously on the concept.
And here we are today – with 17.3 million people tuning in to The Walking Dead premiere! Zombies are having a moment, as I like to say.
As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
I am not preparing for anything specifically. Though this might sound blasphemous to some zed heads, I don’t actually think there will be a zombie apocalypse.
And I didn’t really start prepping until I started working on the concept for the book. That work also coincided with me moving to New York City. When Hurricane Irene and then Sandy hit, it sort of underlined for me that one should engage in at least some form of basic disaster preparedness.
I think the CDC emergency preparedness campaign under the guise of prepping for the zpoc was BRILLIANT. I would categorize myself as a casual prepper. I sometimes attend meetings of the New York City Preppers Network and am always floored by the level of thought and effort that many New Yorkers put into general emergency preparedness, and it pushes me to make sure I do the basics.
Do you have plans for another book?
I always have several idea pots simmering on the back burner, but nothing concrete as yet!
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Fun fact: Many people credit the “Father of the Modern Zombie,” Mr. George Romero, as imbuing zombies with their love of brains. And it’s true – he did write what many would consider the canon for the modern age of zombies, but he was not responsible for the undead’s brain predilection! That credit must go to the black comedy, Return of the Living Dead (1985), written by Dan O’Bannon.
Thank you so much for your participation in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival.
My absolute pleasure Gaye! Thanks so much for including me!
The Book Giveaway
A copy of The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide has been reserved for one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.
If for some reason the Rafflecopter widget is not working, you may also enter here.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
The Final Word
I am having a lot of fun with this book and I think you will too. Good luck in the giveaway.
And me? I am off to make some “Who’s Got Your Back Tuna Mac”. With chicken, not tuna. But that is a story for another day.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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When the zombie apocalypse tears down life and society as we know it, it will mean no more take out, no more brightly lit, immaculately organized aisles of food just waiting to be plucked effortlessly off the shelves. No more trips down to the local farmers’ market. No more microwaved meals in front of the TV or intimate dinner parties. No, when the undead rise, eating will be hard, and doing it successfully will become an art.
This is a cookbook and culinary field guide for the busy zpoc survivor. With more than 80 recipes (from Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast and It’s Not Easy Growing Greens Salad to Down & Out Sauerkraut, Honey & Blackberry Mead, and Twinkie Trifle), scads of gastronomic survival tips, and dozens of diagrams and illustrations that help you scavenge, forage, and improvise your way to an artful post-apocalypse meal.
Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage
No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.
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