When it comes to The Walking Dead series, it's all about the noms. Everything in the popular show and comic series circles around survival - and eating is one of the most basic needs. Naturally, should we ever be trapped in the zombie apocalypse, it's always best to be prepared. What better way to have your wits about you than with a thorough survival guide and cookbook in one! Lauren Wilson, the author of The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse, did just that with her new cookbook AMC The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide.
If you want to know which wild plants will kill you, know how to unconventionally start a fire, or try out some unique recipes for your Walking Dead premier party, this one is for you. This 143 page instructional book is just the ticket for any foodie. With eye-catching visuals provided by photographer Yunhee Kim and delightful show-inspired recipes, even zombies will be shuffling along for this one.
Survival of the Fittest
The Walking Dead official cookbook has a lot to offer any reader, whether you are a show enthusiast, a food lover, or someone who prides herself on knowing how to survive when lost on a hike. Its versatility sets it apart from any other cookbook. The early chapters cover survival basics, while the latter section takes readers through the many recipes inspired by the show: from Lori's [Not So] God-awful Pancakes to Hershel's Spaghetti Tuesday Dinner.
Of course, a book like this just doesn't fall into place and not just any author could tackle such a project. Lauren Wilson was just the chef to do it. Of course, how does one write an official guide to cooking through the zombie apocalypse? Well, we had a chance to talk with the author about just that, among other fun things.
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Deadicated Fans' Interview with Lauren Wilson
1. Tell us a little bit about your background.
Lauren: I am Canadian and have been living here in the U.S. for the last 7 years. I went to chef school in Toronto after graduating college with a marketing degree and deciding I wanted to pursue something a little more hands on. I am also half Italian and grew up with a Sicilian nonna, so food has always been a big part of my life, and it was a natural choice when I made a career change.
I started writing about food not long after I started working in restaurants. When I moved to New York I got into teaching cooking classes and began working on my first book, The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse.
2. What inspired you to write a cookbook quite like this?
Lauren: The idea for The Art of Eating actually came from a dear friend of mine, Paul, who just said offhandedly to me one day: “You’re a zombie nerd and you’re a food nerd. You should write a cookbook for the zombie apocalypse.” I just loved the idea! But this was back in 2008 and I wasn’t quite sure how long the public appetite for the undead would last, so I waited. It wasn’t until The Walking Dead premiered on AMC in 2010 that I realized I needed to get moving.
3. Tell us about your writing process for the cookbook.
Lauren: For The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook & Survival Guide, the process was a pretty intense one. I had a short period of time to write the manuscript, and on top of that I was dedicated to making the book as true to the universe of the show as possible. That involved re-watching every episode of the entire series until that point (about 92 episodes), searching for food moments.
Thankfully, writing The Art of Eating gave me a great foundation of knowledge for the survival section and all I had to there was tailor the content to the show and what we see characters on the show doing. I took a leave from my full-time job serving and managing at Rose’s Bar & Grill in Brooklyn and worked 7 days a week on the manuscript.
4. What’s your favorite recipe?
Lauren: I usually say the Wild Boar Chops with Juniper, Apples & Sage. And it is really high up there on the leaderboard. But today I am battling the sugar demon so I would say Carl’s Chocolate Pudding. It’s so easy to make and so satisfying to eat-though I try not to eat 110 ounces of it at a time.
5. Has this inspired future projects?
Lauren: Not directly, no. But it has inspired me to write another cookbook, which I am working on currently. If you had asked me after I finished The Art of Eating if I would ever write another cookbook, I would have said NO. But now that I’ve written a second, I have definitely been inspired to write a third. So maybe I will be a cookbook author when I grow up…
6. What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Lauren: Work hard and keep going. When I decided to write The Art of Eating I had absolutely zero idea what went into writing, pitching and selling a cookbook. I had no connections in publishing. But I rolled up my sleeves and figured out what I needed to do. I decided to go the agent route so I cold-called every agent in New York City. So I would say work on your craft, write something you’re proud of, and then be unafraid to go out there and do your absolute best to make it happen.
Oh, and don’t forget about the business side of being an author. Hustle is a big part of the game because you have to work hard to find and really connect with people who are genuinely interested in you and what you’re doing. Even before you sell your book, you need to start trying to find your tribe. It’s a tremendously important part of the process, and it takes time and consistent effort. I wish someone had told me that while I was writing The Art of Eating.
7. What would you say was the most difficult part of the process?
Lauren: I really enjoyed the process! I think just the compression of work into a short period was the hardest thing. I didn’t take a day off for three months. But I was doing something I loved and very honored to be doing, so it made the whole thing pretty rad.
8. Which part was more difficult, the survivor guide or the research for the recipes.
Lauren: Neither? As I mentioned, The Art of Eating gave me a great foundation for the survival section. And writing the recipes was just fun. While combing through every single episode was a lengthy process, I am so glad I did it because I am hoping it makes the book really satisfying for fans
9. How did this project come about-were you approached by AMC, or did you approach them.
Lauren: I was approached by Insight Editions, who is the publisher of the book. They licensed the rights from AMC to do the book. In some awesome and unexpected twist of fate, the fact that I had written The Art of Eating made me perhaps the most qualified person to write a cookbook for The Walking Dead, so it was a no-brainer.
10. Have any zombies attacked while you were trying to forage?
Lauren: Ha! No. However, even if they had I think my urban foraging guide, Wildman Steve Brill, would have dispatched them without hesitation. He’s a wily dude.
11. What tips would you give fellow survivors in the field?
Lauren: Make like a scout and BE PREPARED.
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