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FOOD DUDE: Only one answer to what’s for dinner when you’re stuck inside - apocalypse stew

Terry Bursey's Apocalypse Stew offers up a tasty meal using items you likely have in your pantry.
Terry Bursey's Apocalypse Stew offers up a tasty meal using items you likely have in your pantry.

I don’t know about you, fine readers, but I’m already sick as Travis Barker’s drumming abilities of this whole COVID-19 upstart. It shows up out of the blue like a smack from a ninja, spreads like warm Cheez-Whiz on hot toast and makes us all panic more severely than Tim Burton whenever he sees a hairbrush.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and if you are, you’ll probably outlive us all, you crafty devil), you’ve probably seen by now all the empty shelves at grocery stores laid to waste by the crowds of over-prepping disaster zealots eager to plunder their wealth of toilet paper and carrots.

The unfortunate consequence has been that our grocery carts are far less varied than the piled cornucopias of yester-month – which, of course, means our meal plans have had to be adjusted accordingly, as best as we can.

With this somber fact in mind (and as per request of an astute reader who shall remain henceforth nameless) I’ve devised a few recipes which utilize the bare minimum of ingredients possible, yet somehow manage to defy the surly bonds of culinary law by tasting effing great. Some long pasta noodles, margarine, a pinch of salt and a healthy dose of black pepper tastes great as a filling meal – albeit extremely simple and ingredient-scarce (especially if you add half a can of tomato soup to the mix).

Another apocalypse-accommodating meal fit for the whole family is a baked casserole made from nothing else but crackers, bread crumbs, cream of mushroom soup, canned tuna and seasonings.

But the coup de gras (French pun intended) of this jury-rigged culinary monster-lab is a kind of stew that might just have you raiding your Nan’s preserve pantry (with well-washed hands!) rather than the blood-soaked aisles at Costco. In tribute of those sensible folks whom have prepared for these times by learning canning traditions, I give you:

Apocalypse Stew

1 mason jar of preserved moose, or caribou, or deer, or one pound of cooked beef

1 cup flour

1 tbsp sugar

1 can peas and carrots

3 large yellow potatoes, peel on, washed, cubed

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1 packet of brown gravy mix

1 litre of water


For the beef variation, cut beef into large chunks, seer in a hot pan until completely browned, yet soft, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large roaster, combine potatoes, beef, and water. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together all remaining dry ingredients with roughly two-and-a-half cups of water, being sure to add the last cup of the water gradually. Remove roaster from oven, add canned peas and carrots, as well as the contents of the bowl to the roaster, stir until smooth, cover and place in oven again for 25 minutes. Makes six servings.

Note: Always be sure to practice safe and sterile canning practices and be extra cautious when cooking with canned meats, checking for off smells and colours before using as well as dates of preservation, being sure to also never to use jarred/home-canned meats older than four months.

Letter Snacks!

Robin W. – St. John’s, NL

I just want to take the time to tell you that I made the cheesecake recipe you posted and can honestly say that it is the absolute best cheesecake I have ever eaten in my entire life! And I DIE for cheesecake! Well done! Well done! Well done!

Dear Robin,

Don’t go dyin’ for cheesecake! LOL. I have it on good authority it would NOT die for you! It cares naught but for its own wanton desires. Sorry. I’m feeling wordy today.

Cheers and thank you for what is perhaps the best food compliment I’ve ever had.

Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients. Reach him at


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