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Zombies, Run!: Keeping Fit and Living Well in the Current Zombie Emergency
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The Book > Week Six: Food for Heroes

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Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
It’s important to make sure we’re eating Food for Heroes with all these fitness plans and zombie-kill methods.

Getting Priorities in Check

The Ministry has provided a hierarchy of food priority. Obviously, fresh fruit, veg and other groceries top the list. They’ll go off the quickest, and are usually the most nutrient dense.

As for dried food, I’m not sure that I’ll be trying to rehydrate my pasta with cold water...but it’s certainly tempting to experiment!

Last on the priority list is, of course, junk food. It’s nutrient-poor and can be detrimental to your survival efforts! I’ll definitely be trying to stick to my treat calendar as long as I have fresh or canned food available to me.

I am an absolute sucker for snacks. My biggest trouble is crisps. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I know it’s Curly Wurlys for Sam Yao. I’ve tried to ensure that I have plenty of things to celebrate - I don’t want feel too limited or I’m bound to give up!

What is your favourite snack food? How do you manage how much of it you eat?

Foraging & Scavenging

Foraging is an important skill in these times. For the inexperienced amongst us, the Ministry has a book recommendation and lots of tips to help us along.

I’ve always been a fan of nettle tea, but I’ve never tried them in a soup, which sounds delicious! Making jam out of edible wild berries is also a great way of preserving fresh food.

I’m quite keen on foraging plants such as dandelion, lavender and camomile. I’ll often brew them into tea, but you can also make wine out of dandelions quite easily, as long as you can get ahold of wine yeast.

Do any of you forage or scrump for food? What everyday plants have you found that make a tasty beverage or meal?

Foraging in other people’s kitchens is also an option. The Ministry has provided a guide for how to go about this sometimes dangerous task.

But supermarkets are even scarier places to hunt for food. Full to the brim with places for zoms to hide away, and with plenty of distractions for you to lower your guard.

Whatever the Ministry’s explanation for why zombies love supermarkets, it’s definitely a good idea to have a plan. Otherwise, you might find yourself getting distracted and not being prepared for a surprise zombie attack.

I always make lists before I loot supermarkets, and ensure that I’ve eaten recently. If I go hungry, I’m bound to pick up whatever looks delicious, rather than thinking logically about what will tide me over until the next time I can raid for food.

How do you plan your supermarket/grocery shop trips? Do you have lists, do you time yourself as suggested, or something else entirely?

Grow Your Own

I only have a small window box in which to plant things. I hadn’t really thought about certain flowers attracting bees who would pollinate the rest of my windowbox, or the fact that I could use the leaves of things that I couldn’t grow to full-size. I’ll certainly have to review what I plant in it this year!

Below, I have mapped out what I planted in my two window boxes:

As you can see, I have plenty of things to liven up a dull meal with, and the spinach will come in handy for a pinch of iron if I’m running low on food!

I will definitely be following that Ministry advice to not compost zombie flesh...though I’m not sure why you would want to!

Do you have your own space to plant vegetables or herbs? What does your garden, no matter the size, look like?

Meal Prep

In the time before, “Sunday meal prep” was all the rage. Spending your Sunday cooking enough meals for the entire week meant that you didn’t have to spend every evening thinking about what you’re going to cook. This takes a load of the stress and strain off making homemade meals.

I always try to bring a packed lunch out with me, as I’ve found my sugar level dramatically drops at around 1pm, and I’ll be tempted by all kinds of sugary goods if I don’t have food prepared. This usually consists of leftovers from the night before, so I don’t have to think too hard about it.

Planning meals is a little more difficult, especially, if like me, you aren’t very creative in the culinary department.

The Ministry provides a helpful guide on how to meal plan, and I’m not sure why I never thought of listing what food needed to be used up before!

My meal planning looks something like this:

As you can see, I mostly have fruit and veg to use up. And, because I eat leftovers the next day, I don’t have to worry about lunch! The bananas gets used in my morning bowl of oats. It’s a good way to use up fruit that has over-ripened.

I’ve never had the patience for dehydrating or drying my food, but I certainly would like to get into making preserves. A good, spicy chutney is sorely missed in this apocalyptic age! Plus, homemade chutneys and jams can make excellent presents for people in your community.

What does your meal planning look like? Do you do any preserving at home? What kind of things have you made?

Tell us what you thought of this section, including anything I haven’t mentioned!

Denali (yarnbard) | 10 comments I've made nettle soup before, and it is amazing! I honestly prefer the taste of nettle to spinach, which it is rather comparable to nutritionally. Plus, nettle is much easier to find out in the wild. When I still lived there, I would pick it in the forest that surrounded my old college, then I would cook some of it and dry what was leftover. Peak nettle season tends to be in the spring, and for the best tasting leaves, just pick the new growth at the very top of the plant. I use it more for nettle tea than food, though, because it's great if you need a quick iron boost (like if you are menstruating or you recently lost a lot of blood).

Dandelions are also an excellent source of food, especially since the entire plant is edible! The green parts can be bitter, though, but they still have nutritional value (making them into tea might be one of the more palpable ways to use them). The yellow flowers are good in salad (or you can munch on them alone) and taste mild and nice. You can even saute the flowers and include them in recipes like that.

You can also make dandelion jelly from the flowers! It tastes a lot like honey, actually. I've never made wine from dandelions, but you can actually make a coffee substitute from dandelion roots. It's a bit of a hassle, because after you harvest the roots (not an easy feat in itself), you have to dry them, then roast them, and then grind them, but after you've done all that, you can brew it like you would coffee. I'm not a big coffee fan (I prefer tea), but I was surprised at how similar it tasted.

Regarding gardens, I can't have a garden until I have a more permanent place to live, unfortunately. I can't wait until I'm living somewhere where I can actually maintain a garden! That's one thing that is really motivating me to keep going, honestly.

I got a book at an apple orchard that's about different methods of preserving food. It's a very informative book, and it's an excellent resource! Most of the food preservation I have done is drying herbs, though I hope to someday branch out a bit and try other things. I also want to get better at making jams and jellies, since my only experience with that is making the dandelion jelly.

Hypolimnas Bolina | 2 comments Genetically Engineered seeds are not sterile. They will sprout just as well as any other commercial hybrid seed. GURT technology "terminator seeds" were considered by biotech companies as a safety mechanism to stop Genetically Engineered lines interbreeding with or out competing wild varieties, but due to public outcry a global moriatum on this technology has been in place since 2006.

'Terminator seeds' is also an extremely funny phrase that makes me think of muscular pips talking in Austrian accents.

Commercial hybrid seed is the result of cross-pollinating highly inbred lines to produce one generation only offspring with two desirable traits.

These offspring are much hardier than the inbred parent lines. (This is called 'hybrid vigour', which is a real thing in botany, not a polite way to be borderline racist). However, cultivating the seeds from these hybrid plants leads to a second generation in which the in-bred traits of the parent lines emerge.

To metaphor: your new plants will be the botanical equivalent of the Hapsburg dynasty.

In the times before most farmers bought seed annually to prevent this. Now this is no longer an option we must enjoy the constant suprises in our pots and window-boxes this new bounty of biological diversity brings us.

message 4: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Denali - Wow, preferring it to spinach is definitely making me want to try it! I will have to pick some nettle next time I see it. Do you have any advice for picking - such as hand protection?

Dandelion jelly sounds good too - especially for someone, such as myself, who doesn't eat honey. It's fascinating to find out what tasty things can be made out of weeds we normally dismiss! Please feel free to share the book you found at the apple orchard, too!

Hypolimnas - You sound very knowledgeable about botany, which will definitely come in useful in these apocalyptic times! Especially if you're able to identify those surprise visitors in our window-boxes and gardens :)

message 5: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments This chapter was a good reminder on prioritizing! In the pre-apocalypse days it was so easy to get complacent about our food and its ready availability, at least for those of us in the developed nations. It is good to always keep your skills and knowledge regarding basic survival necessities sharp!

Oh - junk food - so tasty, but yes, so not nutritiously valuable at all! It should always be saved for very special occasions. It definitely does not need to be a daily indulgence. We would do well to remember that in non-apocalyptic times too.

Gardening has definitely never been my strong suit. I have a very brown thumb. My husband and I actually tried to have a garden one year - unfortunately we lost our battle with the weeds and grass when we were just too busy to keep up with it all. Some things grew pretty well despite that! We would have done much better if we were in a Ministry Farm where we had help!

I am also terrible about being able to identify wild edible plants. I think I will work on that. I was a city girl before we moved to the country. It is hard for me to work my brain around the concept that what was once considered an annoying weed (dandelion or nettles for example) is actually food! I am working on revising my thinking and expanding my horizons, especially after what Denali said about how tasty they can be!

Denali (yarnbard) | 10 comments Lulu, the book is called "Food Preservation from A to Z" and it was published by Hearts 'N Tummies Cookbooks.

As far as harvesting nettles go, I'm usually fine if I wear gloves. Though you might also want to consider long sleeves and pants if you're collecting out in the wild, because it's not fun to accidentally brush against them with your bare skin as you're wading through the plants.

According to my aunt and uncle, who were the ones who taught me how to forage for nettle (they harvest it from their yard and use it to make nettle-stuffed chicken, which is absolutely fantastic), baking soda can be used to help neutralize a nettle sting, if you do get stung.

If you boil nettle for at least 10 minutes (this is how long I brew my nettle tea), that eliminates its stinging properties. I recommend you exercise caution even with dried nettle, though.

Also, if you're wildcrafting, it's generally recommended to collect plants that are not too close to the road or any other potential source of pollutants.

message 7: by Lulu (last edited Jan 17, 2017 08:00AM) (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Denali - Thanks for the tip, I'll check that book out if I can find it in the UK.

I've only gotten pre-prepared nettle tea, so this is all good information for a newbie at foraging like me, thank you! Unfortunately, being in London, I'd be hard pushed to find plants that aren't close to a road or train tracks - even my allotment, when I had one, was next to train tracks! Still, I'll keep my peepers out for nettles growing further away from now on.

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