Fallout The Vault Dwellers Offical Cookbook Review: A Post Apocalypse Party Done Right

Many of us around the world are coming to terms that Covid-19 will never fully disappear, but accepting that the last two years provided ample opportunity for self improvement. One such improvement and skill taken up by the masses was learning to cook. For some this can be a daunting task, with such a myriad of cuisines, techniques and chefs to take inspiration from, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Fortunately there are some amazing cookbooks created by extremely talented people inspired by works of art in the largest entertainment industry. Video games are played regularly by 2.5 billion people people and its global market is set to be worth over $250 billion. These food compendiums aim to extend our love and time in these fantastic worlds, whilst providing an entertaining and unique tool to introduce people to a valuable life skill. Victoria Rosenthal’s Fallout book is one of the most fun and saliva-inducing ways a game’s world has been extended outside of the traditional format. 

Recipe Section

First and foremost it is important to say that it would have been nicer to cook many more recipes so that this would be a more comprehensive review, but this review was written during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it meant supermarkets were affected and getting ingredients was difficult and occasionally costly. That being said, now we’re essentially back to normal – whatever that is, ingredients will be much easier to find if you wanted to pick up the book and try out the dozens of recipes yourself. The recipes chosen for this review were all picked to help with costs and mitigate food waster. Many of them have mutual ingredients so that if you want to try them out for yourselves, you won’t end up with waste left over and spending a fortune on ingredients you only need a small amount of. It’s not a guarantee that all shops will have everything you need but at the time of planning and cooking, the main supermarkets in my area had the bulk of ingredients – except for specific cheeses and spices. Furthermore the recipes for this review span across from each course in the book so that way a variety of tastes and complexities were tackled. Plus if you wanted to replicate the dishes you would have an entire menu – makes for a good dinner party experience for friends and families.  

Iguana On A Stick – Appetisers p29

First up is one of the franchises oldest edibles to date. In the first few entries to the series iguana on a stick was only available at vendors or as a lootable item. However in the more recent games, vault dwellers are able to craft it at cooking stations. 

The simplicity of this recipe is what makes it so delicious. Firstly you cube up duck breast (chicken in my case due to availability) and add it to a zip lock bag with minced garlic, minced ginger, olive oil, oregano, red wine vinegar, and honey and leave it to marinade for at least two hours. However the longer you leave it, the deeper the flavours become. Once your marinade mixture has had time to sit, skewer it alternating with red onion and grill – rotating as you go to get even colour on all sides. As an appetiser the iguana on a stick was fantastic. The garlic gave it a real punchy flavour, complemented by the sour tang of the red wine vinegar. The honey added some mild sweet notes but mostly contributed to the charring of the skewers due to its sugar content. Admittedly I can see how the marinade would have worked better with a fattier duck breast as it has a richer taste. If only the recipes in the games were this nice. Simple iguana on a stick would be too bland. Hopefully any guests you have round for a meal or BBQ would appreciate the extra effort into this recipe.

Tato Soup – Soups and Stews p53

Tato soup was created for Fallout 76 and can be bought at  The Whitespring Resort fine dining vendor. However there is a close approximation vegetable soup in Fallout 4, which can be crafted using carrot, tato and dirty water. 

A hearty vegetarian friendly soup on its own and simple to make. The base of the soup requires you to oven roast, sweet potato, russet potato, tomato and carrot for 40 minutes, then once that’s done, to add it to a simple vegetable broth that you make with root vegetables and a vegetable stock. Blitz the two together and add coconut milk and you will have a very orange soup. Because all of the vegetables have been browned off either in the oven or saucepan, the taste is much deeper and because you have broken down the vegetables in the process, when you blend the soup, it will become smooth and avoid feeling like baby food. What is amazing about this recipe is that the ingredients are cheap and readily available – only one that was missed was fennel, but this dish could easily be a part of a Fallout menu for gatherings, or a nice meal by itself. Aside from the name you could serve this to anyone and you would never tell it was inspired by a video game. 

Blamco Mac and Cheese – Sides p65

First introduced in Fallout 3, it is a fast food product that is found in the world. However it can be crafted if you have  the food processor in the Contraptions Workshop add-on

A mac and cheese doesn’t sound very interesting you may be thinking, but the way the recipe has you create it is unusual. Typically with mac and cheese you would create your bechamel by whisking flour into melted butter and slowly adding milk until a smooth sauce. Vault dweller Rosenthal steps up this simple dish by instructing you to boil carrots and add them to a blender with milk, heavy cream and Worcestershire sauce to make the liquid for the bechamel. The recipe also called for Fontina cheese, however that was not available and apparently the closest replacement was Emmental. If you can find another cheese as the Emmental was very overpowering and gave the mac and cheese a nutty flavour. Additionally, my recreation of the recipe ended up being bright orange. As if it was radiated and glowing. This may have been due to the carrots or cayenne pepper. It was still a tasty dish but with any recipe, change the ingredient amounts until you find a taste you are happy with. The extra steps taken do make this mac and cheese unique, but the usual recipe for mac and cheese provides a more well rounded dish. 

Saddle Up Salisbury Steak – Mains p109

A known staple to the wasteland and its inhabitants, Salisbury steak was introduced in Fallout 3 and is well known for its bright red packaging and radiation upon consumption. 

The stand out dish within this review. This was by far the tastiest dish and would be one to make many times. There are two components to this recipe – patties and gravy. Make the patties as if you were making burgers (the patty recipes would also make for nice burgers) by combining the minced beef and a myriad of spices. You want to fry both sides of the patties in order to add colour and to help bind them together. The gravy is a mushroom infused beef broth (king oyster and shiitake mushrooms were unavailable but white mushrooms work) and is so outstanding that it will sell mushrooms to anyone who hates them. Once the gravy is brought together, you place the patties in it to finish and serve with noodles. For full immersion you could serve it with a portion with Instamash in a TV tray meal dish. In my household this dish went down the best out of all the 52 recipes across the five pop culture books I cooked from. This recipe is a great one to help develop multiple cooking skills. Flavour balancing and forming structurally sound patties can be difficult to do. Furthermore it is a tasty dish to introduce you to braising. This recipe cannot be praised enough. Besides the mushrooms the ingredients are easy to find and cheap. As a bonus this recipe can be cooked in one frying pan – so space and washing up are at a minimum. It could even be made vegetarian friendly if you use meat alternative mince and a vegetable stock for the gravy. 

Old Lady Palmer Sweet Roll – Desserts p135

Before Old lady Lucy Palmer shared her recipe for this book, the only way to try a delectable sweet roll was to activate the “Growing Up Fast” quest in Fallout 3 and not give it to Butch Deloria.  

If you do not have a stand mixer with a dough hook in your vault or home, you might want to put some points into your endurance S.P.E.C.I.A.L stat because you will be kneading dough. Old Lady Palmer has a great twist on cinnamon rolls. The addition of ground star anise and cardamom make these sweet rolls a more than suitable birthday treat for vault dwellers. Like any typical roll you create your ground filling and roll it out and spread it across the dough. The process is very straightforward but time consuming because you have to do two proofs of the dough. The cream cheese frosting in this recipe is slightly more bitter than normal but that helps to balance out how sweet the dough and filling is. This is a great dessert to pair with this selection of dishes because it is a light dessert. Furthermore, the two hour proofing time will allow you time to prep other dishes for your guests.

Nuka Cola – Drinks p165

Quite possibly the most iconic aspect of the franchise, Nuka Cola is the flagship soft drink of the Nuka Cola Corporation. This soda has been in every step of the franchise and with age comes potency. Nuka Cola didn’t affect player stats until Fallout 3. In the first two games it only had a chance of addiction. It was this high addiction rate that made Nuka Cola so popular and meant that the company could go on to release a further nine different flavours. The vault dweller who wrote this book must have come across the ruins of an old Corporation factory because there are recipes for three soda flavours. 

To really blow your guests and pallets minds you can serve them a nice cold refreshing glass of Nuka Cola. Having never made a soda or knowing what the process was like, it was relieving to know that all you had to do is boil some ingredients together. The Nuka Cola syrup in the book is used in the different soft drink recipes but with experimentation, you could make your own flavours and variants. The ingredients for the syrup were fairly easy to come by – the hardest being whole star anise. But if you want to have an authentic Fallout party, you have to put the effort into finding ingredients for the cola. It’s not Fallout without Nuka Cola. The taste of the cola is very pleasant but unusual. You do get the citrus notes from the zest and juice of the lemon, lime and orange, but a much more pronounced flavour is the star anise. Star anise is a hit or miss flavour and so for your desired taste, make sure to try out different ingredient amounts. Also as this recipe just makes the syrup and you add sparkling water to make the soda itself, you can add more water to dilute the syrups taste. 

Stimpack – Drinks p185

The wasteland is a very deadly place. There isn’t much in the world that doesn’t want to hurt you. In that eventuality you want to be carrying as many of these on your person as you can carry. They can provide an almost instant life saving concoction of medicines to keep you on your feet for longer. Stimpacks are readily available in the world as they can be found, crafted or bought. 

The amazing idea behind this recipe is in the presentation. The game version is a viscous liquid inside of a syringe and to earn full stats for immersion, the recipe calls for you to add gelatin powder to the mixture and to pour it into syringes for serving. The stimpack does include alcohol in the form of raspberry vodka so it is for those of your local drinking age. However for those wanting to experience the taste you can replace the vodka with normal raspberry juice. If you are a fan of jello shots then you will love this, but if the texture puts you off then you can just mix the pomegranate juice and raspberry vodka together. The gelatin and syringes are only necessary if you want to immerse yourself in the Fallout world. Whilst this recipe doesn’t necessarily include skills to better your cooking ability, it is a fun recipe and doesn’t have to be kept purely for Fallout themed occasions.

Radaway – Drinks p187

An essential item in the wasteland. Since the nukes dropped it is too dangerous to explore the outside for too long. Prolonged exposure will increase your radiation poisoning. Make sure you carry a bunch of these to remove the effects of radiation and pair with the stimpacks to improve your health. 

Another boozy drink but for those who prefer rum over vodka. The radaway recipe incorporates the Nuka Cola recipe and it is delicious. All you need is dark rum, a lime, ground allspice and the prepared nuka cola. Mix them all together and you have a plus one in luck all night. Once again it is all about mixing and controlling flavours but once you find your sweet spot, this drink is fantastic. This is a strong recommendation. 

If you want to have a blast and forget all about the desolate wasteland we inhabit, Vault Tec has provided a good amount of alcoholic drinks for you to try. For costs sake radaway and stimpacks were chosen because the alcohol was already available. So if you are planning on having drinks at your Fallout party, it might be best to buy your booze accordingly in order to keep the price down. 


The creativity and design of this cookbook is bound beyond that of any normal piece of merchandise. The book is framed as a recipe book developed from Vault Tec and handed out to every vault out there, so that residents do not miss any of the comfort food that they had before being locked away. Since we know that most of the vaults failed and the inhabitants either died or went outside, the book has creatively been adapted. To make it appear used and contemporary to the state of the world after the bombs dropped. Design features such as authors notes and scribbles about the update to ingredients, make it feel more authentic to the experience and world building that Bethesda are known for. The entries on every page feel as if they were ripped straight from the game in a book that you would find out and about in the world. 

Additionally, the book is filled with graphics that help add charm to the book and the Pipboy mascot is used to great effect to add friendliness. Each recipe is accompanied with a S.P.E.C.I.A.L stat – just like consumables in the games. Fortunately none of the recipes have any drawbacks such as radiation (unless you don’t cook some of the meats correctly) The graphics aren’t the only stunning part of this book. The author Victoria Rosenthal has photographs of each of the dishes to accompany the recipes, so you know what you should be aiming for presentation wise. Don’t feel ashamed if yours doesn’t turn out like hers your first time round, it will encourage you to try again. After tasting the dishes, there is no way that you are going to use this book just once. 

The only improvement I would make to this book would be with the measuring system used within the recipes. Being from the UK we use the metric system but the author is from the USA, so all of the measurements are in the imperial system. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem but it can be inconvenient to have to keep using websites or digital assistants to convert the ingredients for you. Below is a converted list of all the ingredients featured in the recipes from this review. 

Total Ingredients.

Iguana On A Stick – Appetisers p29

5 garlic cloves

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground ginger

2 duck breasts

½ red onion = 64g

Tato Soup – Soups and Stews p53

½ large sweet potato

½ large russet potato

1 medium carrot

3 whole tomatoes

4 tbsp butter = 60g

½ cup onion = 64g

¼ cup shallots = 32g

½ cup leaks = 64g

1 small fennel bulb

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup VBroth = 240ml

1 cup coconut milk = 240ml

Green onion for garnish

Feta cheese for garnish

Blamco Mac and Cheese – Sides p65

1lb macaroni = 450g

2 medium carrots

1 ½ cups whole milk = 400ml

½ cup heavy cream = 120ml

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

¼ cups AP Flour = 34g

2 tsp ground mustard

2 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

5 tbsp unsalted butter = 75g

8 ounces sharp cheddar = 220g

4 ounces fontina (emmental) cheese = 110g

Saddle Up Salisbury Steak – Mains p109

1lb ground beef = 450g

½ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground mustard

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

¼ panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

½ medium onion

1 large king oyster onion

5 shiitake mushrooms

2 cups Bbroth = 500ml

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp dried tarragon

2 tbsp cornstarch

Old Lady Palmer Sweet Roll – Desserts p135 14 rolls

1 cup milk = 240ml

2 ¼ tsp ADY = 10g

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter = 112g

¼ cup granulated sugar = 50g

1 large egg

1 tsp VE

1 tsp ground star anise

3 ½ cups AP Flour = 500g

⅓ cup brown sugar = 73g

1 ½ tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom


4 ounces cream cheese = 110g

1 ½ cup powdered sugar = 300g

½ tsp VE

5 tbsp unsalted butter = 75g

2 tbsp milk = 30ml

Nuka Cola – Drinks p165 15 to 20 servings DIVIDE THIS BY WHAT IS APPROPRIATE

2 cups water

3 cups sugar = 600g

Zest and juice of ½ orange

Zest and juice of ½ lime

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

1 cinnamon stick

3 cardamom pods

½ tsp coriander seed

2 star anise

¼ cup browning sauce = 85g

1 tsp VE

Stimpack – Drinks p185

2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin

¼ cup pomegranate juice = 60ml

¼ cup sugar = 60ml

3 drops red food colouring

1 cup water

¾ cup raspberry vodka = 180ml

Radaway – Drinks p187

1 lime quartered

Dash of ground allspice

¼ cup dark rum = 60ml

¼ nuka cola soda = 60ml

Club soda



5 garlic cloves

1 red onion

1 sweet potato

1 potato

3 carrots

60g butter

255g unsalted butter

2 normal onions

250ml of Vegetable broth

450g macaroni

250ml coconut milk

750ml of whole milk

120ml heavy cream

540g AP Flour

220g cheddar cheese

110g emmental cheese

450g ground beef

7 eggs

110g cream cheese

50g granulated sugar

73g brown sugar

800g sugar (but will be less because of servings for nuka cola)

300g powdered sugar

180ml raspberry vodka

60ml pomegranate juice

60ml dark rum

1 orange

2 limes

1 lemon

1 pot ground star anise

2 star anise

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