Welcome back, Vault Dwellers and Fallout Fans! Back in August, I had the chance to interview my friend, Victoria Rosenthal of Pixelated Provisions, author of Fallout: The Official Vault Dweller’s Cookbook, as in THE Official Fallout Cookbook. Now that I’ve got a copy of the book in my hands, I figure it’s time to try my hand at cooking like a Dirty Wastelander.
The Official Fallout Cookbook
“Take pride in your meals as they are the fuel of our future!” Fallout: The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook says in its introduction. The pre-bomb published book states its intention of encouraging healthy and flavorful cuisine “regardless of the apocalyptic circumstance.” Each recipe, in turn, features the dish’s stat-boosts, difficulty level, and suggested pairing with its page number.
The book also encourages that “adversity builds character” and “to feel free to annotate this book with any ingredients that serve as suitable substitutes in our recipes.” What you’ll soon find after reading a few pages is that you’re not the first vault dweller to flip through it. Messily scrawled substitutions, anecdotes, and scavenger’s notes ramble through its chapters. Whether using mirelurk belly for salmon croquettes, or baked bloatfly for vegetarian meatloaf, these notes indeed mark the mind of an experienced wastelander.
The book organization includes sections for appetizers, soups and stews, sides, mains, desserts, and drinks. While every recipe shows up in the table of contents, I do feel that this book could benefit with a recipe index organized by specialty ingredients. Many of this book’s recipes utilize similar, not-so-common ingredients such as Nuka-cola BBQ sauce, shiitake mushrooms, miso paste, and duck breast. It would be good to know what else you can make with leftover ingredients so you can save money by buying certain things in larger quantities.
That said, do not be deterred entirely if you cannot locate all the ingredients within a recipe. We’re in a post-war wasteland, remember? A vault-dweller must learn to be resourceful. It’s ok to use one type of mushroom or onion when the recipe calls for three. It’s ok to substitute cooked rice or couscous for quinoa. The more comfortable you are making a dish, the more likely you are to hunt down its exotic ingredients the next time you cook it.
So what is it like to actually cook something from the Official Fallout Cookbook? Well, I tried not one, not two, but FOUR dystopian delicacies from this guide for the post-war gourmand.
Recipe 1: Iguana on a Stick
I chose this recipe for its simplicity, but mostly since there’s nothing more iconic to post-apocalyptic cuisine than something cooked on a stick. Luckily, “Iguana on a Stick” is a misnomer. You’ll have no real need to stalk down a salmonella-carrying scaleback to enjoy it. No, just find yourself some duck breast, and you’re in business.
First, you marinate cubes of duck in a mix of garlic, olive oil, ginger, oregano, red wine vinegar, and honey. Then, after skewering it with some red onion, it’s time to grill, baby, grill until crispy. The combination of olive oil and duck fat keeps the meat moist while the garlic paste tenderizes it to perfection. Also, the honey helps it develop a nice, flavorful char to sweeten the spicy kicks of red onion.
I did have to make some adjustments, though. The recipe does not call for any salt. Salt is essential. Make sure to season the skewers liberally with kosher salt before throwing them on the grill. Also, the prep time is actually double the length than what is listed in the quick-reference tab as the recipe text calls for two hours of marinating in the refrigerator.
All in all, though, this recipe’s simple preparation will reward you with a complex and unusual flavor, and for just a brief moment you’ll feel like the King in a post-apocalyptic Renaissance Faire.
Recipe 2: Radscorpion en Croute
Next up in the entree section I chose to make Radscorpion en Croute for its short ingredient list and prep time, as well as ingredient availability. This dish consists of chicken, cream cheese, artichokes, and shallots rolled up and baked inside of puff pastry.
I would say this recipe wins major points for its versatility. One batch makes twelve delicious, creamy radscorpion rolls that are great for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. The leftovers taste great heated up in the microwave. Two servings alone are also filling enough for a single meal, or just heat up one and a skewer of iguana-on-a-stick on the side.
Recipe 3: Mississippi Quantum Pie
Now that you’ve had an appetizer and main course, it’s time for dessert. I think it’s time to explore the explosive color and flavor of some Mississippi Quantum Pie. Based the Mississippi Mud Pie, this neon-colored, oreo crusted cocoa-bombshell involves homemade dark chocolate pudding and citrusy whipped cream.
It’s criminal how easy this recipe is. I’m saying that because you may balk at the concept of making chocolate pudding from scratch. Don’t. There is something oddly therapeutic about the process, pouring the mixture from bowl to a bowl like a kid with his first chemistry set, watching velvety chocolate swell and billow around your whisk as you stir it to perfection. This recipe makes more pudding than what would fit in the crust. There is nothing wrong with this. I call it the chef’s tax, and it is utter perfection.
Just make sure you save yourself a slice before you serve it. I took the remaining pie friend’s party, and it disappeared like a snack cake in a flying ant swarm within minutes. It was THAT good.
Recipe 4: Nuka Cola
It doesn’t seem right to cook up a bevy of dishes without having a refreshing beverage to wash it all down. That’s why you’ll be happy to find that Rosenthal included recipes for all the Nuka-sodas in this book. Thinking it best to try the basics, I make up a batch of Nuka Cola syrup.
I know, the original recipe is supposed to contain 17 different fruits. However, the book states it was “unable to settle legal differences between Vault-Tec™ and the Nuka-Cola Corporation.” The Vault-Tec version is a delicious mix utilizing orange, lime, lemon, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, star anise, and vanilla.
Ever have a sugar-based cola? This tastes even better. It’s refreshing and full-bodied, with just the right amount of spice. Mix some Nuka-Cola with spiced rum and sweetened lime juice. You’ll never buy a Rum and Coke in a bar ever again!
Vault-Tec™ Approved Recipes
So would I recommend Victoria Rosenthal’s Fallout: The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook? Yes. What makes it S.P.E.C.I.A.L?
- It has recipes for cooks of all SKILL levels.
- The PRESENTATION in format, story, and photos make its casual reading just as enjoyable as cooking.
- Its recipes are not just EDIBLE. They are distinctively delicious.
- It will teach you techniques to become a better COOK.
- The book features a variety of INGREDIENTS you may not have tried before but can also be substituted if hunting is scarce.
- It’s ADAPTABLE to different dietary restrictions with a separate section in the introduction.
- And the Offical Fallout Cookbook will, as the inner cover states, help you “LIVE well” by eating well with its all-immersive text and creative recipes.
Check out Fallout: The Vault-Dweller’s Offical Cookbook by Victoria Rosenthal on Amazon.
BY THE WAY, author Victoria Rosenthal is currently hosting Fandom Foodies this month, or #CookOut76 — recipes inspired by the Fallout series of games in celebration of Fallout76’s release. Check out her linkup on Pixelated Provisions by clicking here.