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Monday, December 16, 2013

D. B. Walker: "The Snacking Dead: A Parody in a Cookbook"

Author:  D. B. Walker (pseudonym for unknown author)
Title:  The Snacking Dead: A Parody in a Cookbook   
Plot Type:  Zombie Apocalypse Parody with Recipes     
Ratings:  Violence-4; Sensuality-1; Humor-4 
Publisher:  Clarkson Potter/Publishers: New York (10/2013)  

     I highly recommend this book to any fan of The Walking Deadeither the TV show, the graphic novels, or the print novels. It would make a terrific holiday gift. I laughed out loud in a number of places and chuckled at many more. The author (and I'd love to know his or her  [or their] real name) does a great job with the narration of the story, taking a calm, matter-of-fact approach to the end of the world as we know it. Everything comes down to a 30-something woman who snacks her way through the devastation, fighting the dead and feeding the living.

     This book comes in both print and e-book editions. In addition, an interactive version is available for download with iBooks for Mac or iPad, and with iTunes on your computer. Click HERE for more information on the interactive version, which has a few bells and whistles missing from the print and e-book versions.

     Click HERE to read a lengthy excerpt on The Snacking Dead's page. Just click on the cover art at top left. D. B. Walker is a pseudonym for the same person(s) who wrote Fifty Shades of Chicken under the pen name of F. L. Fowler.  


"…in a world ruled by the hungry dead,
it was snack or be snacked on."

     Yes, this is a cookbook with a mythology: a zombie apocalypse mythology that mostly mimics the world of The Walking Dead. Although, there is a passing reference to Game of Thrones when a character warns that "Winter is coming," and I'm wondering if Charlie, the growling, half-pint dog, just may be an oblique reference to the skinny-but-snarly character in Revolution

  The "Introduction" is a photograph of a smart-phone displaying a news feed with the headline, "Mysterious Outbreak Causes Restaurant Havoc" and warning people not to attempt the Heimlich maneuver on restaurant patrons exhibiting these danger signs: "bluish skin color, bulging eyes, inability to speak, and/or noisy breathing."

     The book is divided into three story/recipe sections: 
          1. "Appetizers for an Apocalypse" (64 pages)
          2. "Eating on the Run" (51 pages)
          3. "Messy Bites for the Newly Dead" (28 pages)

Unsuspecting Pigs
in Blankets
     Each section consists of scenes from the ongoing story of Pam Beaumont (a take-off on Pamela Swynford De Beaufort from True Blood), a single mother in suburban Georgia, who is trying to find safety for herself and her two children, Earl and Veronica ("Ronnie"). Each scene covers 1-2 pages and is followed by a related recipe accompanied by appropriately gory photographs (see example at right). Click HERE to go the the book's web site, where several full-text recipes are provided along with their photographs. This site also has a book trailer that probably provides a clue to its author if, that is, you can figure out the true identity of the narrator.

     The final section ("Epilogue: Last Call," 2 pages) contains several beverage recipes.

            THE STORY            
     "Appetizers for an Apocalypse" starts at the very beginning of the zombie pandemic as neighbors turn on neighbors and the babysitter tries to eat Pam's children. (Pam's rant on Velveeta as an undead food product that is perfect for the Apocalypse is one of the highlights of the book.) Pam and the kids are, at first, separated, but they soon find one another. Unlike most of the other survivors, Pam is a foodiea good cook who spends a lot of time foraging for groceries in zombie-infested supermarkets and rooting for herbs in weed-filled gardens. All the while, though, she daydreams about the true love of her childhood: Daryl, the boy who taught her how to kill and skin a squirrel and vowed to protect her from chupacabras. (There's a squirrel recipe or two in the book, but you can substitute any type of protein you run acrossor run down.) "First you chop the head…Her first love had taught her that many years ago. She wondered where Daryl was now. Still tracking squirrels in the Blue Ridge Mountains? Even now she could see his sleepy sexy eyes, his sleeveless shirts, the way he'd only steal quick glances at her. Once when he'd killed a squirrel with his hatchet, he had seemed almost embarrassed for the exposed little creature. Then he ate its liver.…'Once we cut this squirrel up," she had said, 'how about we melt some cheese on it?'" (p. 31)

     Unfortunately, Pam hasn't raised the brightest kids in the world, and they are soon bitten and turned. "Pam tossed a live chicken to Earl….She wasn't surprised that he had turned. Earl had always been the first to catch whatever was going around the playground." (p. 42) Later, she muses about her two zombie children, "In some ways, little had changed. Earl still fidgeted and wandered. Ronnie still rolled her eyes and made that exasperated slurping sound. But at least she wasn't a vegan anymore." (p. 68) 

pizza peel
     Unable to bring herself to stab her kids in the heads and end them, Pam puts chains around their necks and takes them with her. You do see where this is going don't you? Yes, it's a take-off on Michonne, but as a white female wearing her daughter's Goth hoodie emblazoned with a hot-pink skull and using a pizza peel instead of a katana. Eventually, they take brief refuge in Canterbury, a survivors' colony in a medieval theme restaurant that is run by a sadistic (but pragmatic) man who calls himself King Philippe. The king entertains his subjects with nightly arena games in which chained zombies attack, but are outrun by…kittens. As Pam continues her way through this dangerous world, she keeps asking herself, "What would Daryl do?"

Saving Grace Grilled
Pimento Cheese
(with zombie hand
in background)
     "Eating on the Run" is told from Daryl's perspective as we find him out on a supply run for his survivors' group. As he shoots crossbow arrows at a constant, shuffling stream of zombies, he also daydreams…about a girl who used to make him the best pimento cheese sandwiches in the world while he taught her the finer points of squirrel butchering in the deep woods. He wonders what she is doing now.

     "Messy Bites for the Newly Dead" moves back and forth between Pam and Daryl as they find one another in a fateful finale. Eventually, as Daryl heads back to his group, he muses, "In a world where we're all on the menu, you grill together or die alone. The apocalypse was no picnic, but you didn't have to starve either." (p. 152)

            THE RECIPES            
     Each recipe bears some relationship to the preceding story scene. For example, after the diabolical King Philippe enters the story, we have a recipe for Secret-Ingredient Cheese Fingers. I didn't try making any of the recipes, but they seem plausiblesome even sound delicious, like the Angel of Death Brown Sugar Bacon Bites. Most of these recipes are high in fat, sugar, and starchesbecause it's the apocalypse, for heaven's sake. Who has time to worry about counting carbs, calories, and cholesterol levels?

     Each recipe page contains a "Pro Tip." For example, the recipe for Medievaled Eggs includes this Tip: "A piping bag for the egg filling makes a cheery, pre-outbreak touch. In a pinch, make a piping bag from a pillowcase and a spent shotgun shell." (p. 64)
Sweet-ish Fleshballs

Here is a list of some of the recipes: 
        Sweet-ish Fleshballs
        Nachos of the Living Dead
        Elbows Casserole
        Crabby Prepper Puffs
        Survivalist Hero (a sandwich)
        Dire Ham Biscuits (These look delicious!)
        Cold-Blooded Ice Cream Bread Sandwiches
        Gratuitous Violence Jell-O Mold
        Squirrel Poppers
        Guac and Load Guacamole
        False Sense of Security Blueberry Muffins

     The "Epilogue" contains three heavily alcoholic drink recipes, and the beverage Pro Tip provides instructions for fashioning a swizzle stick from a chicken bone. 

     Click HERE for the rules of The Drinking Dead, a drinking game devised by the creators of The Snacking Dead.

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