An ASHFALL Dinner

(Originally Posted at The League of Extraordinary Writers)

Last year after ASHFALL got a starred review from Kirkus, my editor drove to my house in Indianapolis with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I volunteered to cook dinner. Since we were celebrating ASHFALL, I decided to serve food based on some of the meals my protagonists, Alex and Darla, eat.

When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts again (the disaster I depict in ASHFALL), a lot of people are going to starve. Something like 20% of the world’s grain is grown in the areas that will likely be buried in ash, and we have less than a 60 day supply of stored grain worldwide. So the central feature in any post-apocalyptic diet is scarcity. Those who survive will be eating almost anything that’s available. (Some, no doubt, will eat absolutely anything that’s available. Avoiding that group will be one of the tricks to surviving.)

Alex and Darla suffer through many days with not enough to eat. But at one point in the book, they wind up at a farm with goats, ducks, and a greenhouse kale garden. And occasionally they have access to pork. So here’s the menu I came up with–I’ve made this several times now, so I’ll give you two sets of recipes, one more accurate, and one that tastes better. These recipes feed four.

Kale . . . yum!

ASHFALL Menu (Accurate Version)

Ingredients:

10 slices side pork (check with a butcher to find this, it’s uncured bacon)
A bunch of kale–about 12 large leaves.
Salt
4 duck eggs
Goat cheese

Instructions:

  1. Fry 10 slices of side pork in a large skillet. Salt heavily. Set aside 8 slices and half the grease. Crumble or chop the last two slices to cook with the kale.
  2. Wash the kale leaves and remove the stems. Save the stems to feed to your goats. Don’t dry the leaves.
  3. Add kale to skillet and toss with grease and crumbled side pork. Cover skillet and cook until the kale turns a brighter shade of green–about 8 minutes.
  4. Set cooked kale aside and use the same skillet to cook two omelets. Make each omelet with 2 duck eggs, a slab of goat cheese, and a scoop of the cooked kale mixture. Salt to taste.
  5. Cut omelets in half and serve with 2 slices of side pork, 1/4 of the remaining cooked kale, and corn pone.

 ASHFALL Menu (Better-Tasting Version)

Ingredients:

10 slices thick-cut bacon
A bunch of kale–about 12 large leaves.
Salt
Pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
Small onion, diced
Red wine vinegar
4 duck eggs or 6 chicken eggs
Goat cheese

Instructions:

  1. Chop 2 slices of bacon and fry the bits in a large skillet until almost done. Add garlic and onion and fry a little more.
  2. Wash the kale leaves and remove the stems. Don’t dry the leaves.
  3. Add kale to skillet and toss. Cover skillet and cook until the kale turns a brighter shade of green–about 8 minutes. Splash kale with red wine vinegar and set aside.
  4. Use the same skillet to cook two omelets. Make each omelet with 2 duck eggs or 3 chicken eggs, a slab of goat cheese, and a scoop of the cooked kale mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Microwave the other 8 slices of bacon.
  6. Cut omelets in half and serve with 2 slices of bacon, 1/4 of the remaining cooked kale, and cornbread.

So there’s my post-apocalyptic dinner. Do you have any favorite recipes from books? Let me know in the comments, please.

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