Friday, November 30, 2018

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Clayton Smith, Author of APOCALYPTICON

In Post-Apocalypticon, the world ended six years ago, and no one was prepared. The Flying Monkey bombs came out of nowhere, and boy, it’s a hard fact of life that the apocalypse brought a whole host of problems: roving marauders, trigger happy survivalists, strange and life-threatening weather patterns, the occasional flesh-hungry zombie. In the face of such ever-present danger, it can be easy to view food as a necessity instead of a culinary art…but there’s no reason to lose our humanity just because humanity has been completely and totally lost.

But to be clear, humanity has been completely and totally lost.

When it comes to post-apocalyptic mealtime staples, your best bet is obviously going to be beans. Packed with protein and loaded down with preservatives that were once decried as dangerous but now praised as pure brilliance, most canned beans are still good, even now, six years after the end of the world. They’re probably reaching the end of their shelf lives, though, so now’s the time to tuck in! If you have some compromised cans, you might find your beans a little moldy or mealy. If that’s the case, you can brighten them right up with a little bit of ground sassafras root or wild onion. And you can always mush them up with creek water to make a tasteless-but-mostly-nutritious paste! Just make sure the water isn’t from a source that’s been spoiled by death.

Of course, the more enterprising survivors will cultivate their own vegetable farms! This is an especially good option if you happen to come across a carefully protected seed vault, in which case, you’ll almost certainly come up against a bunch of other survivors willing to slit a whole lot of throats to keep the seeds for themselves, so bring your sharpest sticks!

If you do decide to plant your own seeds, you’ll want to pay careful attention to which part of the country you live in. Not everything grows well in every climate! For example, since the Flying Monkeys fell, Florida reaches an average yearly temperature of 68 degrees, while Minnesota only gets up to an average of 64 degrees. That could be the difference between growing beets and growing marginally-less-flavorful beets. Generally speaking, zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes are reliable crops, but you will want to check your soil for Monkey dust before eating anything that grows from it. If the dust seeps into the soil, it won’t necessarily kill you, but it will almost definitely give your skin a light-greenish hue.

Which is still a pretty small price to pay for not starving to death.

And, of course, if you have no qualms with eating meat, even after watching the zombie hordes tear apart your loved ones with their strangely well-preserved teeth, there are some animal species that seem impervious to the Monkey dust, and are therefore safe to eat. Buffalo, for example, make for a great jerky snack! Tigers are also reputed to be in tip-top shape following the end of the world, but good luck finding one in the wild on this continent. Oh, and domesticated cats also seem particularly resilient where the disease is concerned, but please always remember, you’re supposed to be the hero of your own story, not some ALF-like horror-monster.

When all is said and done, culinary options aren’t quite as plentiful or palatable in the post-apocalyptic world, that’s true. But on the bright side, when literally every single second of every single day is a struggle for survival, flavor takes on a somewhat diminished importance. So peel open those beans, set a trap for that buffalo, and grow those sickly tomatoes, friend! You’ve survived the last six years, so like it or not, it looks like you’re in it for the long haul.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Clayton!

You can find Clayton here:

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