I mean, yeah, what better things do two girls have to do on the weekend than to pretend they're living in a Titan-infested environment where they desperately need to cook themselves a meal? That is how I found myself last Saturday, competing with my best friend to see who could come up with a better survival meal in the Attack on Titan universe. We filmed the whole thing out in the open, keeping with the wilderness theme, and let me tell you... we got some strange looks from my neighbors. Apparently, two girls chatting casually about slaughtering their horses and indulging in light cannibalism to a camera isn't quite normal around here.
The challenge was this: Come up with a meal that you could feasibly cook as a human on the run from Titans. We had limited cooking supplies: a cup, a knife, a fork, and a pot. Our only source of heat was a campfire (an outdoor barbecue grill). The only food we could use were things that were unprocessed and could be found relatively easily in the wild. That limited us, essentially, to fresh meat, vegetables, and fresh herbs. We assumed that most travelers who were going to be cooking outdoors would carry a little salt with them, a little pepper, some water, and some hard tack, or crackers. We didn't have a time limit, but we had quite a challenge ahead of us, as neither one of us had done much outdoor cooking before.
Sarah, my roommate, took inspiration from this scenario: Your horse has fallen and can't get up. They don't even have a LifeAlert button. So, you need to make the executive decision to put your poor horse out of its misery. As a result, her meal is a fresh "horse" steak, seasoned with rosemary and garlic, with wild vegetables. It's simple, classy, and delicious. RIP her faithful steed.
I took inspiration from the Titans themselves! You know what they say... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Titans are pretty messy eaters – gather up the remains of your fallen human companions and make a meal out of them. To go with my "human" meat, I made a mushroom sauce. This is because Eren Jaeger, the main character, actually has a last name that is found a lot in German cooking to describe Jagerschnitzel, or friend meat, usually served with a mushroom sauce. In Eren's honor, I thought we'd make a delicious mushroom sauce as an homage to the Jagershnitzel to accompany the meat.
Surprisingly, both dishes turned out really well! The steak was juicy, and the simple seasonings went a long way towards highlighting the flavor of the meat. I thought my mushroom sauce did a really good job of bringing the meat to the next level in terms of flavor, and it had an amazingly strong earthy flavor that complimented the "human" meat (I used pork) well. I think the lesson learned here is that you can really obtain great results with simple ingredients in relatively small quantities. I didn't realize how much I depended on basic everyday things like flour and sugar to make my dishes great, but stripping all that away was really fun and gave me a new challenge. It was great because I had to be creative in a new way, and it reminded me of how much you can really do in the kitchen with very few supplies or ingredients.
If you can try out one, or both of these recipes, please do! Even if you aren't struggling to evade Titans, there's no reason you can't make your summer time camping adventures more fun with one of these dishes. Even better, compete with your friends and family this summer to see who can come up with the best survival dish! Or, in the event you do find yourself sucked into the Attack on Titan universe... now you've got some ideas for how to survive in style!
Watch the video below for more details on how to survive in the wild... with Titans!
Ingredients for "Horse" Steak with Wild Veggies:
*Note: We did not actually use horse meat. It is illegal to purchase in California.
To Make "Horse" Steak with Wild Veggies:
*A note for both of these recipes. We used a grill outside to mimic a campfire. If you are going to cook outside, prepare your grill before these steps!
1. Salt your steak, and season with fresh rosemary and garlic slices.
2. Slice your squash, and peel your carrots.
3. Put steak and vegetables on the grill to begin cooking.
4. Flip steak halfway through cooking, about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
5. Remove steak when it is done cooking, and let rest for ten minutes.
6. Remove veggies when they are tender and ready to eat, and plate with steak. Garnish plate with edible flowers.
To Make "Human" Meat with a Wild Mushroom Sauce:
1. Begin by slicing the stems off mushrooms. Place in a pot, fill with about 2 cups of water, and place on grill. Bring to a simmer.
2. Next, clean and slice the tops of the mushrooms. Peel and slice a half an onion. Peel and roughly chop two cloves of garlic.
3. Salt and pepper the pork. Place on the grill.
4. When water is simmering, strain the stems out of the broth. Set broth aside, and dry out the pot.
5. Place onions and garlic in the pot, and season well with salt. Allow to cook down until softer. Add the mushrooms, and season well again.
6. Turn the pork, about 3-4 minutes per side, until it is cooked the whole way through. Remove from grill and let rest when done cooking.
7. Add in the broth back to the pot, along with a few pinches of fresh herbs. Stir together and bring to a simmer.
8. Crush up some crackers in your now empty cup, until you have fine crumbs. Pour into the mushroom sauce and stir through. Allow to simmer down, 1-2 minutes.
9. Immediately pour sauce over pork. Serve immediately!