Zombies do not scare me. Zombies are not real. A zombie apocalypse does not seem to be in my future or of my concern at the moment, so they don’t inhabit my dreams, nightmares, or daily thoughts. Mobile rotting corpses don’t really tickle my fancy.
I do wonder though, in the case of a zombie-style post-apocalyptic lifestyle, what type of person I would be and how it would change me. Would I still sleep like a rock at night? How would I deal with not brushing my teeth? Is this a normal thing to be thinking about (with the world in front of me at the ripe-old age of 23)? I’d say not.
That’s what the Walking Dead will do to you. Not the show, the show is good, really good, in fact, but I’ve become engrossed in the comics. I love what the author Robert Kirkman says for his intention for the comic series: “good zombie movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society…and our society’s station in the world…there’s always an undercurrent of social commentary and thoughtfulness.”
It seems insignificant, but I notice things in the comic beyond the huge overarching theme of the morals involved with killing and protecting those you love and care for. I notice that these people survive, primarily, by scavenging for canned goods and relish the thought of said canned goods. This makes me (holy) want to start planting a garden, fence it off, and start growing and preserving food primarily to begin a new life where I can do nothing but be my own person. I imagine not having to go to work and not having grocery stores and supermarkets but instead living a simpler life and needing (for survival) to prepare my own food. Just this mere spark of a thought gives me another dimension of gratitude for the daily things that I am able to make for my household every day (okay, my “household” involves only two people and a dog, but that’s something).
Bread is one of the few things that I feel like I need to have on hand at all times in order to feel content with food. It is the staple of my diet and I take great pride in being a 20-something-year old who knows how to make bread. I’d like to say that in this completely hypothetical post-apocalyptic world, I would still make bread and be able to provide food for myself. It’s almost something I’d want to do anyways: move to a somewhat remote 10-acre property, build a house and a garden and an orchard, purchase livestock that could sustain my family, and just live. No worrying about credit scores and stock values or any other nonsense (which I honestly don’t completely understand). No worrying about the future, just living in the present, breathing in clean air, harvesting fresh food, and enjoying my time on this planet.
Think about this, let’s seriously think: most people who work full-time spend 40-hours per week away from home, away from their loved ones, away from the people who truly matter in life. When did this become okay? Why do I feel like I’m the only one questioning this lifestyle and that everyone else just marches on like (un)happy sheep? More time spent at work can’t possibly lead to a happy life. How can this be? Work can’t chit-chat with you, work can’t give you a hug and a kiss when you are having a bad day, work can’t have a beer with you in the hot summer sun, and work certainly can’t love you back. What’s the deal with this one-sided relationship then, huh?
I ask all these rhetorical questions not to be mean, not to belittle anyone, only to spark thoughts and more questioning-mentalities. These are the types of questions that I think to myself or ask my dog on the daily. “Why, Roxy, why are you such a happy dog?” Maybe it has to do with the fact that her life is simple: she eats, she drinks, she gets treats and frequent belly rubs, she occasionally humps the corner of her dog bed, she gets to run and move her body, and she gets to be in the company of people she loves. Sometimes I wish us humans were much more simple.
Stout walnut sourdough boule
yield 1 loaf
This recipe (purposefully) uses 1 entire 12-fl oz bottle of SN Narwhal Imperial Stout.
LEVAIN: 50g 100% hydration ripe sourdough starter
100g SN Narwhal Imperial Stout
100g organic BRM whole wheat bread flour
Mix together, cover w/ a lid, and ferment 10 hours (or until 1 tbsp floats in room-temp H2O)
DOUGH: 250g LEVAIN
254g SN Narwhal Imperial Stout
86g body-temp H2O
290g BRM whole wheat bread flour
210g organic unbleached white flour
Mix LEVAIN in H2O with hands until completely dispersed. Using hands again, mix in the flours until there are no dry clumps. Autolyse and cover w/ towel for 60 mins.
25g body-temp H2O
12g sea salt
Squish into dough thoroughly to incorporate salt.
140g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Add the walnuts and fold dough over itself (in the bowl from the bottom to the top) on all sides (5-10 times) until it is cohesive but sticky. Rest 30 mins.
BULK FERMENTATION: Fold dough over itself as before and let rest again for 30 mins. Do this 3 additional times. (Total time: 120 mins) Rest at cool room-temp for another 120 mins.
SHAPE: Turn dough onto a clean counter. Rest 15 mins. Pull four edges over to meet in one place at the top, turn over, and place into a linen-lined bowl dusted w/ brown rice flour. Cover w/ towel and rest at cool room-temp for 80 mins.
PROOF: Place in the fridge and ferment an additional ~15 hours.
SCORE & BAKE: 60 mins before baking, place (cast iron) dutch oven (lid ON) into the oven and preheat to 550. Let preheat for 60 full mins. Pull dough from fridge and flip onto a cutting board lined w/ parchment paper for transport to the hot dutch oven. Score dough deeply w/ a razor/ serrated knife. Slide it, parchment and all, down into the dutch oven. Cover, place in oven, reduce oven temp to 475, and steam for 30 mins. Remove lid, reduce oven temp further to 450 and bake 20-25 mins until chestnut brown.