30-Minute Meals for the Post-Apocalyptic World

By Aaron Menzel

Look at you: hair frazzled from the walk back from work, bags under your eyes from all the late nights standing watch over your children, blood still smeared under your ear from when you severed the jugular of a tentacle goblin. You need a break, so Tasteecookin’ Magazine has gathered together a trio of speedy and savory meals for your post-apocalyptic world! It’s time to get Tastee!

1. Delicious Bean Dip

This is an old standby, from even before the Brownout Riots. To start, make sure the hinges on your cellar door are good and oiled, and send a kid down to grab a bag of beans and a jar of tomatoes. Feel free to equip them with a bat or club, but as long as they’re quiet they should be OK. Smaller feet make less noise, and Mudstalkers are only drawn to sound.

Rehydrate the beans, simmering them in water for thirty minutes. Drain, mash, and spread thinly into the bottom of a bowl. Layer the tomatoes on top, and follow with some olives from the pantry, sprinkled as liberally as your depleted stock of food will allow. Get creative! Whatever milk you find should be well and curdled, so use it as a substitute for sour cream. Scoop out with fingers and enjoy!

Tastee Tip: This can be made with fewer layers if ingredients are tight. What’s left of your family will be too hungry to notice! 

2. Magnificent Fish Marinade

Despite the recent outbreak of hooktooth, fish is still an option for healthy eating. If your local babbling brook or stream is too polluted to support life, venture towards the town square to barter. Tastee recommends salmon or killifish, but accept what is available. 

Fillet and place in a bag along with lemon or orange juice. Consider adding a drop or two of gun lubricant to counter the acidity of the citrus. Marinate for twenty minutes and toss into a frying pan. You’re going to want to overcook the fillets to avoid ingesting any live tapeworms or trumpeter spiders. 

Tastee Tip: Save the fishbones and use string to rig up noise traps for around the house. Anything(one) caught can be used in dinner the next day!

3. (Y)umbalaya

Sneak out to your garden before sundown and scrounge up what vegetables you can find. Remember to thoroughly wash away all dirt to avoid accidentally consuming any parasitic spores. You should have your government-issued hatchet from before the total breakdown of society, so go over to your chicken coop and grab a hen. Consider bringing along a mason jar to collect the draining blood. This can double as a thickening agent in stews or as scent camouflage for timber banshees! 

Chop everything up and cook on low for ten minutes, using what spices you have left. Add water, rice, and beans. If needed, toss in some sawdust or grubs–they pack the same amount of fiber and protein for a fraction of the cost. After boiling, everything should be sanitized and ready to eat!

Tastee Tip: Out of water for this one? Head on over to the Nestle Corporate Headquarters. To locate the only remaining megacorporation, look for the glow of their halogen lights and tracking lasers, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for lobbyists! Go around back and check the dumpsters. Nestle throws out all day-old water, so bring back as much as you can carry!

Keep on cookin’! It’s the only way to survive! 

Aaron Menzel writes and teaches in Incheon, South Korea. He is currently studying with the University of Glasgow to obtain his Master of Letters in Creative Writing. He has worked as an editor, a canoe instructor, and currently teaches English and Creative Writing. Recently, he has been published in Bunbury Magazine, Selah Magazine, and Flash Fiction Magazine. You can reach him on Twitter @A_P_S_Menzel.