Based on a popular blog in the voice of a bookstore clerk who turns survivalist in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, Madeline Roux's debut novel puts a new spin on the zombie genre. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped follows Allison and a small group of survivors who are trying to reclaim the world for humankind. Here, Allison shares some of her tips for making a survivalist's diet a bit more palatable.

Allison Hewitt Presents: Campfire Confidential

It’s late. You’re starving. You and a motley band of survivors are huddled around a dying fire. One question lingers in everyone’s mind—what’s to eat? You don’t have to look closely to know the question right in line after that one, the question you’re wondering too is: God, does it have to be beans again?

Well, the answer is probably yes, it’s beans again, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this surviving and slaying and blogging, it’s that “beans again” doesn’t have to become a theme or even something you and your fellow survivors dread. Morale is a powerful thing and food and high spirits go hand in hand. So while Martha Stewart might be wandering around Manhattan snacking on tourists (not a good thing) and Rachel Ray’s next 30-minute meal may involve a studio audience member, the standards of the living have dropped but not disappeared altogether. Any enterprising survivalist with a song in their heart and a pang in their tummy can spice up even the gnarliest canned food meal and I’m going to tell you how. Here are two simple rules to enchant even the saddest survivalist’s palate.

Rule 1: Bacon Improves Everything
Apocalypse or no apocalypse, some rules must always be observed and this one was gospel in the Hewitt household well before the dead starting rising and chewing on loved ones. Now the chances of finding fresh pork of any kind are slim, true, but one should never underestimate the power of sodium, ingenuity and good-old-fashioned desperation. Chances are, if you’ve raided a supermarket or a gas station, you’ve come across bacon bits. These tasty culinary exiles are almost always left behind. In a panic, nobody is thinking about condiments, but their neglect is your reward.

So they’re not real bacon . . . so they’re saltier than a pirate’s vocabulary . . . None of that matters when you’re facing down yet another bowl of lukewarm baked beans. So pop open that festive red top, pour a liberal amount of bits onto your grub and enjoy the delightful crunch of those tiny, preservative briquettes, and when someone woefully asks, “beans again?” you just tell them, “No, friend, beans with bits.”

Rule 2: Spice Up Your Life
Yes, that was a Spice Girls reference and no, I won’t be apologizing for it. Irrelevant pop girl groups aside, the spice rack really is your best friend when meal time repetition has got you down. Some of you may not be familiar with what different spices are good for or the labels might have peeled off, leaving you stranded with an armful of intimidating mystery jars. If that’s you, these helpful hints might just nudge you in the right culinary direction.

If it’s brownish yellow and smells like armpits, it’s cumin. If it’s green and smells like the inside of a hippy’s purse, it’s oregano. If it’s gritty and dark and smells like Christmas, it’s cinnamon. If it’s black and smells like feet . . . then . . . probably don’t sprinkle it on your food. See? So fun and simple even Sandra Lee could do it without straining her brain cell.

And that just about covers it, fellow survivors. Armed with those two simple rules you too can become a master at solving just about any campfire conundrum. Dinner will be a breeze instead of a headache.

But remember, if we two were to meet one day in a lonely gas station, both our grumbly stomachs intent on pilfering that last precious can of bacon bits, I might like you and even respect you, but holy hell do I love bacon more. So never forget—I’ve got an ax and I’m not afraid to use it.

Thanks, Allison! Bon appétit. For more on the book, visit Madeline Roux's website or Facebook page.

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