There is no right way to react to grief, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that heroin is the wrong way. Yet that is one of the paths Cheryl Strayed pursues in the wake of her mother’s death. Others include divorce, promiscuity, failing to finish school, and undertaking a solo trek into the wilderness with no training and boots that don’t fit. So, there’s a certain amount of idiocy to this book (from a cynical perspective), but it’s a charming idiocy.
Wild was chosen as part of Oprah’s (2.0) book club, so I won’t add a review to the millions that are already out there. This may be an exaggeration, but barely. To be fair, this book is far better than it’s whiny, obnoxious counterpart Eat, Pray, Love. Strayed realizes how unprepared she is when she first tries to pick up her pack, it’s only her stubbornness and blind grief that allow her to continue. She’s profane, exhausted, and a mess and she doesn’t hide that fact. She makes mistakes* – and has made mistakes – but she doesn’t quit. That has to be worth something – maybe six toe nails, some elephant skin, personal hygiene, and access to Snapple?
Instead, I will give you a menu according to bits and pieces of Cheryl’s hike.
As Cheryl begins her hike, she discovers her stove doesn’t work. She brought the wrong gas. Oops! So there are various bits of dried food, milk substitute, jerky. And granola – if you’re going to eat granola, it might as well be delicious, flavorful granola, right? Try this maple apple granola (via A Cup of Jo). Everything is better with maple. If you could squeeze some bacon bits in this you’d be golden.
By the time she feels like she’s starving, she runs into Frank. She’s not so sure about Frank, but she gets in the truck anyway. In it there’s whiskey and licorice. Try this red cherry licorice recipe (full disclosure: I hate licorice and would never make this, but Cheryl was overjoyed, after weeks of what was essentially gruel, to eat six feet of Frank’s licorice (I have trouble taking that last sentence seriously. Because immature.).
In her first real stop – in a town called Ridgecrest – while hiking the PCT, Cheryl orders one of the first real meal she’s had in a quite some time (except for Frank’s generosity). Her choice: a cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate malt. She’s “shattered by each delicious bite”. Try this Insanity Burger by Jamie Oliver, the Tabasco Chipotle sauce sounds heavenly and pair it with a traditional chocolate malt.
If you’re still hungry, finish it off with a chocolate and vanilla twist cone – Cheryl’s first food purchased post hike – and a Snapple lemonade.
If you were to undertake a months long hike, which food would you miss the most? I would probably miss really good pizza the most.
*Okay. I’m going to be honest here. Strayed must have been the most attractive thing to ever walk the PCT because every man and his brother hit on her –even though she hadn’t showered or shaved in an absurdly long time. So Cheryl is relentlessly hot. And hiking a trail to escape promiscuity only to sleep with a man you don’t know (in a Wilco shirt – bonus points) seemingly defeats the purpose. This bothered me for reason I can’t quite articulate.