This month’s issue of the magazine is a celebration of things that are fresh, green and good for you. It was printed on paper made from chia seeds and has been imprinted with special micro-nutrient wheatgrass that is being absorbed into your skin as you read.
The island is slowly thawing into another beautiful spring and within weeks the bounty of nature’s harvest will be available to all.
Well, that’s lovely for those of you who are into it, but as a committed survivalist I’m more of a ‘glass half full’ person. I’m happy to eat fresh vegetables when they are available, but when I’ve finished testing the half-full glass for poison and retreated back indoors, I can only relax when I know that I’ve got enough dried provisions to last me at least three years in the event of something going wrong with our food supply. Whether it’s a slow ferry stolen by Somalian pirates, a zombie outbreak or just plain old nuclear winter, I like to remain prepared. The rest of the island will probably descend into a bloody panic the moment that Waitrose runs out of almond milk, so I’ve agreed to provide the following scavenger’s guide to be issued to those who haven’t yet eaten each other. Don’t bother to thank me – if local families can’t find a ready alternative to kale and pomegranate seeds there’s a slim chance they might try something foolish and storm my bunker. Take my advice and fend for yourselves, because I’ll run out of bullets long before I share my cache of Super Noodles, and you’ll pry this Pepperami from my cold, dead hands.
Man’s true friend, sometimes even designed for man’s best friend, tinned food is the only guarantee that civilisation won’t vanish overnight in the event of something really bad going down. I sleep with a can-opener around my neck, and laugh at anybody who believes the sell-by dates on a tin of beans. I make a point of eating from the back of my cupboard, and am still scoffing down the odd tin with ingredients printed in German. Tins may take up more space than dried food, but there are plenty of situations where you can’t leave home to find water. If you’ve ever tried to cook spaghetti in recycled urine, you’ll know that there are dinner times when only a nice cold tin of Winalot will do.
If your fortified colony doesn’t have the space for a hydroponic tomato greenhouse, I’d strongly recommend growing some kind of edible fungus. It doesn’t need sunlight, provides essential trace minerals and the fungal bounty can even be grown on things likely to be in good supply: damp wood, former colony members and surplus copies of this magazine. It is however very important to make sure you only grow the edible kind, and not the kind that make you experience paranoid visions of absolute power. There’s only room for one captain on this ship, and I’m the one around here who gets the psychic instructions from Zippy and Bungle [these are the 80’s version of the Teletubbies – ed].
In the event of a true catastrophe, it is likely that all farm animals, pets and people who play the acoustic guitar at parties will all be greedily consumed within a matter of weeks. In order to rebuild the rule of law, human society will need a reliably non-murderous source of protein, so until we form into communities organised enough to farm giant mutated rats the scavengers must make do with the bounty of preserved meats. The ridiculous salt content of things like beef jerky means that mould can never truly get a purchase, but the ultimate source of post-apocalyptic protein is Spam. Wonderful, wonderful Spam. The pink manna is high in nutrients, won’t go off until around 2150 and can be cut into slices and used as an ersatz currency. “Stranger, I will trade you three inches of Spam for that car battery. Let us toast the deal with a cup of my wife’s finest night water.”
Artificial cheese items
The first casualty of war is innocence, the second is cheese. In the event of a global conflict future generations will be denied the pleasure of the ‘yellow gold’, needing to rely on hand-me-down descriptions from Jamie Oliver and the annoying bassist from Blur. That is, unless they dig deep into the snowy wreckage of the supermarket and uncover a stash of cheese slices, Dairylea lunchables or Wotsits. Cheese slices may
be the poor cousin of real cheese, and in fact probably don’t even count as a blood relative, but their high-PVC content will keep them edible (or at least as edible as they are now) for millennia. That means budget supermarket lasagne will still be good to eat, assuming you haven’t used it to reinforce the walls of your hovel.
Freeze dried vegetables
Humans need complex nutrients, and there will likely come a time when the world’s dwindling supplies of Spongebob multivitamins are too valuable to save for everyday eating. The thoughtful scavenger will have prepared for this time by fighting radioactive mutants in the dungeons beneath the Co-op to secure his colony a reliable hoard of dried beans, dehydrated onions and Smash. Smash is lightweight, nutritious and doesn’t even need water, despite what the packet will tell you. When combined with a few strips of aged cheese slice and a couple of nuggets of Spam, you have a meal fit for a king.
Few people realise that the Mr Kipling company was founded in the height of Cold War paranoia, based on the firm belief that the only thing that would enable western society to survive a nuclear apocalypse would be the ability to hoard packets of French Fancies long after refrigerators had stopped working. That winning combination of hydrogenated vegetable fats, refined sugar and artificial food colouring doesn’t just exist to make small children freak out, it’s designed to lift the human spirit when the world is a smoking ruin. God bless you, Angel Slices.
Bodybuilder protein bars
Last but not least, perhaps the ultimate post-apocalyptic survival snack. The bodybuilder protein bar is designed to be so EXXTREME that it replaces the need for any other food, and also contains special chemicals to turn anybody who eats it into a ripped man-beast with maximum sex appeal. Gyms don’t want people to realise that if they eat enough of these babies they don’t even need to work out, but in the dark future gyms will simply be a place where people go to scavenge old yoga mats to sleep on, so that won’t matter. The other advantage is that the bodybuilder diet is designed around the principle that going to the toilet is a waste of time, which greatly lessens the chance of anybody surprising me with my pants down and making off with any of my Spam.