We find ourselves wanting to spend more time in the kitchen at this time of year, and more inclined to stay in and cozy up to watch TV. With both season 8 of The Walking Dead and the release of The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide having launched this month, we think it’s the perfect time to host a show-themed dinner party.
While we’re in the dark about what’s to come this season on the show, we do know a bit about the The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide —namely that it’s overflowing with recipes inspired by characters and locations on the show, as well as recipes for meals from the show itself. It also contains tons of expert information that’ll help you step-up your survivalist game, including tips on outdoor cooking, foraging, hunting wild game, and even making your own blackberry wine.
We’ve scoured The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide and put together what we think is an excellent menu, sure to impress even your most finicky friends. Being the generous folks we are, we’re throwing some pro tips and tricks your way, too.
And since it’s fair to say that no one wants to be spending much time cooking after a long and arduous day of surviving in a world filled with the undead—or maybe simply a world filled with work, household chores, or family obligations—we’ve done you a solid by choosing recipes that require minimal active preparation or are simple enough for even novice cooks to master. Find the complete recipes in The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide!
So, make it a costume party—we recommend you ask guests to come dressed as their favorite characters, past or current—and gather round to get your grub on.
But, first: why a dinner party?
We’re all familiar with the adage “timing is everything,” right? It applies here as well, and it’s the reason we recommend a dinner party rather than, say, an afternoon BBQ. Because when it’s cool outside, your scent will travel more slowly, and thus be more difficult to track. If you’re keen to diminish the possibility of detection by walkers, a dinner party is the way to go. Sure, you could all just prepare zombie ponchos like characters Rick and Glen, covering bedsheets with warm walker guts but, for one thing, that might ruin your appetite and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy all these tantalizing recipes we’re about to share and, for another, you and your guests would not be able to fully appreciate one another’s costumes.
Ah, the cocktail: where every good party should start.
This cocktail is described as “equally great for the fall season and the fall of civilization” so, naturally, we think it’s the perfect choice for your party.
As any good host knows, it’s proper etiquette to offer drinks to guests shortly after arrival. And these libations are so delicious, we recommend you plan to serve well more than you think you’ll need.
And now for the sustenance!
We’ve chosen a handful of recipes from the book that we think pair really well with one another, all with flavors and ingredients that we find especially appealing at this time of year. We also think this collection of recipes lend well to serving buffet- or family-style, making them ideal for a more casual sort of gathering.
Wild Boar Chops with Juniper, Apples, and Sage
You probably know that the citizens of the Kingdom have become rather adept at hunting a wide variety of local fauna, including wild boar. But what you may not know is what makes it different from traditional pork: its flavor is more complex and savory (though of course the boar that Ezekiel sent to Negan had a flavor unlike any other).
Until you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world—or unless you want to put the cookbook’s expert advice on hunting wild game to practical use—you should be able to hunt down boar chops from a specialty butcher shop in your area, or simply ask your butcher to special order them for you. If necessary, substitute traditional pork rib chops for boar.
Though it may take a little doing to procure wild boar, we highly recommend you take the time and effort. It’s the main course, after all, and platters of this untamed beast will impart an authenticity to your party that’ll keep your guests talking for weeks.
And what’s great is that the energy expended in tracking down your fauna will be balanced by the simplicity and duration of its preparation: most of the time involved in making this recipe is inactive. That means plenty of downtime to prepare your dessert and hang Walking Dead posters throughout your space.
Maggie’s Forkless Apple Pies
Do you remember that scene in the season 7 episode “Hearts Still Beating,” where Maggie was given an apple pie in thanks for her heroic deeds, and then devoured the entire thing with bare hands, before fellow survivors even had a chance to ask for a slice?
This recipe was inspired by that scene. And because it’s meant to be eaten utensil-free, you won’t have to worry about any sticky trigger fingers.
This recipe yields individual hand pies, which make great party food (that means good for sharing, Maggie!). And the apples and warming spices it calls for, so evocative of autumn, will pair beautifully with the rest of the menu. What’s more, because it’s apple season, you’ll have no trouble finding a variety of delectable apples.
With this killer menu, a few well-placed decorations, and a gaggle of costume-clad guests, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to slay your Walking Dead dinner party.
And after your friends get a taste of those expertly prepared boar chops, they’ll probably be asking you to host weekly viewing parties for the remainder of the season. Lucky for you, The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide has dozens of recipes for food and drink that’ll be sure to keep you and your guests endlessly satisfied.