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Northwest Foraging: The Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Northwest Foraging: The Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest - Doug Benoliel If you want to read a seriously good review about something post-apocalyptic, read Paquita Maria Sanchez’s review of Year of the Flood. This review is kind of a throwaway on a reference book that turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.LETTERS FROM THE ZOMBIE-VAMPIRE APOCALYPSEDay 1-NoonIt was so tragic when that asteroid fell out of the sky yesterday, completely destroying the little town of Forks, Washington. All those souvenir stands, totally obliterated… the humanity. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning. Apparently the asteroid carried a space virus, which has started turning the human population into zombie-vampires. That's what I call them, but that’s just imposing my cultural understanding onto the situation… actually it’s very scientific. The virus causes a conformational change in our proteins which make the victims’ skin and muscles slough off in necrotic chunks, makes them crave blood, and the virus changes their teeth so they grow fangs. Also, the virus forms crystalline deposits in the upper layers of the skin, causing the afflicted to sparkle, and live forever. This was scientifically proven by scientists working at the United Nations. But I digress… what I really wanted to talk about in this last book review I’ll probably ever write is edible plants of the Pacific Northwest. I got this generic gift at my office’s "Secret Santa" exchange this past Christmas, and I didn’t think I would find much use for it, but when the zombie-vampire horde started advancing on my house, this was the only thing I could think to bring with me, as my wife and I fled, just in the nick of time. Now I’m sure we’ll survive, and we’ll owe it all to this book!Day 1- 4 o’clock p.m.So the idea here is that this book will help us find edible plants out in the wild, so we can survive. The thing is, I discovered two things: (1) We can’t really walk that fast. We’ve been fleeing the zombie-vampires for like four hours now, and I don’t think we’re even ten miles from where we started. (2) We’re not that great at identifying different kinds of plants. We found a blackberry bush, and ate a bunch of berries off it… we didn’t really need the book to tell us that they’re edible (page 43), but you know- in troubled times, it’s nice to have that extra bit of assurance. Another thing the book forgot to mention: if you’re in such a desperate situation you need to be using this book, perhaps others around you will be in a similar desperate situation. A guy with a shotgun chased us away from the blackberry bush, and took a couple of shots at us, for good measure. Day 1- 6 o’clock p.m.The sun’s going down, and the only other plant we managed to properly identify from the book is ferns (page 109). Well, this is Washington State, so basically if you’re outside, you’re going to see ferns. I had a taste of one, and it’s really bitter. I mean REALLY bitter. The book suggests that the ferns would be delightful in a stir fry with beef, onions and bell peppers, or perhaps battered like in a tempura. In other words, these ferns would be wonderful if consumed in such miniscule amounts you could barely taste them, and preferably together with other delicious foods that would mask their taste… foods you could only prepare if you were not in a post-apocalyptic situation which necessitated using this book and eating ferns to survive.Day 1- 9 o’clock p.m.It’s dark now, and the zombie-vampires are making noise not far off, looking for new vicitms. The space virus gives them night vision and makes them able to fly, because of the, er, viral DNA, so we’re hiding here in the bushes. I am really thirsty, because much more than plants, what I really need is some fresh water. I know, I know, this is Washington where it rains a lot. First of all, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more like it’s perpetually overcast, and frequently misty, with occasional actual rain. That said, it doesn’t happen to be raining right now.Day 2- 6 o‘clock a.m.We’ve been foraging since the sun came up. It is really cold… like 45F. The apocalypse is really boring… besides walking and looking at flowers, there’s not as much stimulation as I’m used to (TWSS). I wonder if there’s still GoodReads or the internet. I posted a really funny gag review of The Charterhouse of Parma right before the zombie-vampire apocalypse, and I want to see whether anybody posted comments on the thread. I included a few funny pictures, so I’m hoping for at least like twenty-five votes. My mind wanders a lot, as we search for plants that look like the ones in the book. I’ve decided that the coolest looking cars were all built in the 1930’s and 40’s. There was this one Pierce Arrow I saw at a car show… whatever. I’m looking at a plant that looks like it might be Glacier Lilly (page 91). It doesn’t quite look like the picture, but it does have that kind of grassy look, with a tiny flower at the top. I am hungry as fuck (I know that expression doesn’t make sense), and eating this could save me… or for all I know, it could kill me. I chew on the stem a little. Disgusting. Day 2- 11 o’clock a.m. GOD DAMN I AM HUNGRY!! Our wanderings take us back to a road, which we walk on for a while. It seems safe enough; nobody is around. We spot a gas station with attached mini-mart, and my heart leaps into my throat. Food! Drink! We get inside to find it’s all been looted except some non-consumable junk like air fresheners. While we’re there looking for food, it starts to rain, so I empty the plastic garbage can in the bathroom and set it out to catch the gutter water. An old lady comes out of the woods to find shelter. We talk a bit. I show her my book, and she says she has a great herbal remedy for arthritis. Fat fucking chance I’m going to live long enough for arthritis to become a problem.Day 2- 1 o’clock p.m.It’s raining harder now, so we’re still in the mini-mart. The old lady left about an hour ago. She thinks she can make it to her daughter’s house by sunset, if she keeps walking. I’m not so thirsty, since I got a good drink from the garbage can. I’ve been thinking a lot about cannibalism lately. I also wish I had taken some more food with me, when I fled our home. Cannibalism is taboo, but that’s all cultural stuff isn’t it? It’s not really wrong in, like, a provable objective sense, is it? I wonder if I could find that old lady again. Karen once wrote a review about a woman who ate parts of her deceased lover, because she thought the unity of their bodies in this way was erotic. As I watch the rain falling, I get an idea for a review of that book (even though I haven’t read it) where I say the story represents the ultimate perversion of modern romantic sensibilities by our runaway consumer culture. I even think of a way to tie the book in with Jean Paul Sartre‘s Nausea and Tom Sawyer. It would be really insightful and interesting, making those weird connections; probably get about fifteen votes. I think about eating some of the pages out of this book.END.In the tradition of both zombie apocalypse books I've read, THIS JOURNAL WAS FOUND WITH NO ADDITIONAL ENTRIES TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AUTHOR!!! DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!!1!!