The Best Foods to be Stranded on a Desert Island With

April  4, 2015

There are so many great conversations on the Hotlineit's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledgeand to keep the conversation going.

Today: Your post-apocalyptic desert island foods—what makes the cut, and why.


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We’ve probably all played a version of the game “Your Top Desert Island Foods.” Some of you recently played that game in public, by participating in our recent contest: Your Best Recipe with 5 Ingredients or FewerTony S brought that contest to the Hotline, with an added twist. He writes: “You have survived an apocalypse, but you're in luck—you have a magic refrigerator that produces unlimited quantities of salt, pepper, oil, flour, and sugar. It also produces four ingredients of your choice. What would you choose and what could you make with your choices?”

As always, you came up with fabulous answers, full of homesteading intentions:


  • Boulangere, true to her name, wants butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. 
  • Patricia goes minimalist. She would like bread, cheese, cherries, and wine.
  • Keg72 asks for eggs, butter, and yeast: “so that I can bake, even though I actually don't like eggs (other than in baked goods). The fourth is tough—maybe tomatoes?” And upon further review, follows up with, “Can I ditch the pepper? I don't need it. If I could trade it for cheese—or steak—that would be great!”
  • Creamtea sneaks in an extra item, requesting eggs, tomatoes, garlic, coffee, and chocolate, and asks: “Will the cows survive? I need cream for my coffee.”
  • QueenSashy starts with Assam tea and cream to go with it, saying, “That will cover me for about half day." She then adds a modest slice of Humboldt Fog, and asks, "does booze count?"


  • Suzanna Waters Hardin wants to be stocked up on coffee, bison, beans, and avocados. She says, “I like the idea of trading goods, and it looks like all of you will need some help staying awake to fend off of the looters.”
  • Pierino requests tomato sauce, eggs, basil, anchovies for post-apocalypse Eggs in Purgatory.
  • TobiT wants “great beef (for straight eating, but also for chilis, tacos, soups, jerky), cream (so I could make cheese and ice cream), grapefruit (because of their awesomeness), and cocoa beans. Because who would want to survive the apocalypse only to live without chocolate?”
  • Trampledbygeese gives a very well-reasoned list: “Coffee for sanity reasons. Butter for sanity and nutrition. Hay for my dairy goat. Most important of them all, barley for beer making—I can make the yeast with the flour and water. Everything else, I can hunt, gather, or farm and preserve with the salt. Apocalypse doesn't stand a chance against my wildcraft and farming skills... if I'm not too sloshed to milk my goat.”

More: Brush up on your do-it-yourself skills with one of our DIY kits.


  • Pegeen goes for a decidedly Pacific Northwest feel, with a survivalist’s instinct: “Blueberries, wild salmon, kale, and lemons to fight scurvy. I want to trade the flour and sugar for a team of Navy SEALs.”
  • Fat Tony also wants salmon (to have in sushi as well as baked, grilled, smoked, or candied), corn (to use fresh, dried, and made into flour), peas (because "Mom said I need a vegetable"), and bourbon. He says: “Just because I survived the apocalypse doesn't make me an animal. Sitting on my magic fridge viewing the destruction, sipping on bourbon makes you feel human again.”
  • Tony S counters with Porterhouse steak (for carpaccio, to sear or grill, or to grind for burgers); eggs (for breakfast, baked goods, pasta, or aioli); some kind of green that can be eaten raw or cooked, possibly arugula; and 
lemons, because: “What doesn't benefit from a little spritz of lemon?" Upon consideration though he says: “I would consider replacing the arugula with red wine or bourbon.”

Photos by James Ransom

What would your post-apocalyptic desert island foods be? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lucy
  • Nicole Otis
    Nicole Otis
  • Vicky Budhiraja
    Vicky Budhiraja
  • cindy
  • Burf
Mei Chin

Written by: Mei Chin

Let's have dinner sometime. There will be champagne and ice cream for sure; everything else is up in the air.


Lucy November 2, 2015
Nicole O. April 8, 2015
Beef steak, heavy cream, eggs and potatoes.
Vicky B. April 6, 2015
Peanuts! And other nuts!
cindy April 5, 2015
Potatoes, red wine, hazelnuts, Greek yoghurt, Lapsang Souchong teabags.
Burf April 5, 2015
Bacon, eggs, coffee & wine. The first three for the sunrises, the last one for the sunsets.
Gret April 5, 2015
For dessert: REAL black forest cake, cream puffs, Real Napoleans, apple pie, & ice cream!
Mark M. April 5, 2015
avocados , black beans, chicken, sweet potato
Sarah J. April 5, 2015
Milk (cheese, butter & yogurt), lemons, spinach (salad or wilted), eggs & apples (raw, stewed, baked, cider). If I could have one more it would be almonds or sesame seeds
Della V. April 5, 2015
eggs, yeast, milk, beans. Solid nutrition!
Jessica F. April 5, 2015
I'm teaming up with Tony S, planting the seeds from the lemons to grow a tree and then getting the red wine on tap.