We Tried All The Abandoned Kitchens in This Post-Apocalyptic Brownstone So You Don’t Have To, by Molly Taft

kitchen
I know it, you know it, we all know it: eating out in this nuclear winter really sucks. We’ve all rummaged our way through the same abandoned kitchens and stockpiles in our neighborhoods day in and day out, and there just never seems to be anything new. And even if you can find enough layers to keep your body at a stable temperature and enough bullets to fend off the roving bands of giant werecoyotes to take a trip outdoors, nothing’s worse than turning up at what you’d heard was a hotspot to find it totally devoid of any food whatsoever. Dirt soup and rotting rat flesh for dinner again? Ugh, no thanks.

So when we heard the rumor about the brownstone with four untouched kitchens chock full of real food from before the hunger crisis, we knew we just had to check it out and see if it was as good as that one survivor said it was. Led by Tim, our senior food editor, our other remaining staffers (Josh, politics editor, and Josie, literary intern) took a little life-threatening jaunt 20 minutes downtown and tried each pantry for you. You’re welcome!

STOP 1: Lorenzo residence, 1B

This garden-level basement apartment makes for a bit of a tough entry, as the brownstone steps have completely collapsed in front of the door. Fortunately, there’s some space at the top of the rubble pile to send the smallest group member through. (Thanks, Josie, you’re a champ.)

MENU: Great to see such a wide array of Italian staples here, although the lack of a can opener did make things difficult for us. (Use the group member with the strongest teeth.) 

TIPS: Yes, the wine rack is tempting, but we all know from the St Patty’s Day Die-Off of 2019 that nuclear rays can affect alcohol in weird ways. We sure could use a drink, though! Josh couldn’t help himself and had a couple swigs, so we’ll let you know how he’s doing in 48 hours.

STOP 2: Jones residence, 2B

Steve Jones was a frequent guest contributor to our magazine, and we all fondly remember him and Michelle and the great theme parties they threw.  (Especially that 1984-themed rager on the last Election Night. So dope, you guys.) 

Dark wallpapers in here make visibility a little low through the smog. We’d recommend staking out a sentry right next to the 2018 calendar on the wall nearest the pantry, which offers a great vantage point for the rest of the open concept space. (Remember Michelle’s drool-worthy Instagrams? That marble counter is still intact!)

MENU: The Joneses were big hikers, so lots of still-good nuts, dried fruit, and candy in little caches here. Tim found a whole unopened bag of Reese’s!

TIPS: The werecoyotes seem to really like candy and have staked out the fire escape window. Do not use the fire escape window to exit. At least Tim got some Reese’s before he went.

STOP 3: Calloway apartment, 2A

With only two team members left, security was a little touch-and-go here. Fortunately, the werecoyotes were preoccupied with Tim (miss you, man) so we were able to rummage in here unperturbed.

MENU: Lots of weird old man foods: dried prunes, suspect soups, things that expired even before the Russian takeover. Our 2017 selves would turn up their noses at the canned apricot-clam chowder dish we prepared, but we were surprised at how the citrus lent the clams a sprightly elegance. That might have just been our hunger delirium, though.

TIPS: It’s probably best to avoid the street-facing side of the apartment entirely, unless youasrhakjshkjdglsia’euwwauuuuuuuugghhhhhhh;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

STOP 4: Top-floor studio, 3A

Well, looks like that wine kicked in a little quicker than we thought it would. Josh will be remembered fondly for some of the hottest and most-shared takes on the total dissolution of our democracy. 

Pressing on with the tour, it’s just a quick scurry up the exposed hot water pipe and a simple stabbing of a werecoyote or two before what we’d heard was the most promising stop of them all: the artist studio at the top of the building.

MENU: Jackpot. There’s a whole bunch of dry plywood and canvas paintings in here! You could totally keep warmer than you’ve been since 2019 for a good couple of weeks with a bonfire. An even more welcome sight for any gourmand is the supply closet full of untouched Ramen bricks, instant mac, and Quaker oatmeal packets. With a little rainwater from the open skylight, nothing’s between you and about two years’ worth of carb-rich meals.

TIPS: Don’t come here. This place is mine now. Josie out.

By day, Molly Taft writes about climate change; after hours, she works on her night cheese. You can find her on Twitter.

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