Three years ago Lauren Wilson, general manager of Rose’s Bar and Grill in Brooklyn, N.Y., published her first cookbook, The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse (BenBella Books). Now something of an expert on “zombie cooking,” her latest title, The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide (Oct., Insight Editions), showcases her knowledge of post-apocalypse cuisine. She spoke to us about foraging for ingredients, the best way to cook squirrel and why she loves wild boar.
What got you interested in pairing zombies with cooking?
My food nerdery predates my zombie nerdery. Being half Italian, food has always been important to me. I got into zombies when I was in college. My little brother got me hooked on [the video game series] Resident Evil. Then [the post-apocalyptic film] 28 Days Later came out. By the time The Walking Dead happened, the zombie tide was rising. I was also largely inspired by Max Brooks’s book The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.
How did you research your latest cookbook?
I had three months start to finish, and I wanted [the cookbook] to be as true to the world of The Walking Dead as possible. I had to go back and re-watch every episode, scanning for food. One of the things I struggled with is that they’re not necessarily culinary-minded on the show. Daryl Dixon is a renowned hunter. You often see him with a line full of squirrels. A Squirrel Piquante, a traditional southern dish, which can be made with squirrel or alligator, was inspired by the show. There’s also a Dixon Deer Stew.
You’ve said that you tested each dish three times. Where did you source the ingredients for things like acorn flour and squirrel?
Acorn flour is used in Carol’s Beet and Acorn Cookies. I have foraged for acorns before, but it was winter in New York City when I was working on the book. I was able to get acorn flour online from Sue’s Acorn Cafe and Mill in California. I connected with a hunter who was able to get me deer, but he couldn’t get squirrel. I used chicken, but you can substitute any meat.
What is your favorite recipe from the book?
There are several, but probably my most favorite is Wild Boar Chops. Even though I’m normally a vegetarian day-to-day, if there were an apocalypse, I don’t think I’d have the luxury of a picky diet. Wild Boar Chops are delicious and easy and have the flavors of the forest.