A second Revolution Donuts location has opened here in Atlanta. I now live exactly between the two of them, no more than a three-minute drive to each.
I like donuts. Revolution Donuts serves donuts. Their whole reason for being is to make new and magical contributions to the donut genre.
It’s a problem.
I do have some self-control, but it’s in situations like this—faced with an embarrassment of plenty—that my imagination runs toward the hypothetical opposite.
I’ve written about which insects you can eat when civilization stops producing donuts. This time, I decided to go full-toddler diet and learn what non-food items I could eat without killing myself.
The spectrum of things we can eat is going to expand quite a bit in the coming decades. Biotech modifications will even extend the amount of time we can go without food or water beyond natural means, and designer bacteria will help filter/dispose of accidentally ingested toxins.
We’re even working on edible batteries to power internal implants and break down in the gut afterward. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the show 30 Rock: “There’s a hole in my heart, and not the one I got from eating batteries.”
Internal batteries—and implants to keep us going without food and water—are still a little ways off. In the meantime, if you find yourself in a world without donuts—or any food—consider the following…
Records show that many shipwreck survivors have died not purely of dehydration but from drinking seawater. At a certain stage, the need to consume water overrides the logical mind and forces one to drink. In a similar situation without food, it stands to reason that hunger would drive us to eat non-food items just for the sake of eating.
The following list is for that time when all the sugar packets and condiments are gone. After you’ve watched other humans transform Warner Bros cartoon-style into hot dogs and hamburgers right before your eyes AND acted on your impulses.
When the unstoppable need to put something, anything in your stomach takes control, you can make some informed choices.
On to the fun stuff:
Non-toxic and (somewhat) Nutritious:
Tree bark: Go nuts! But you have to eat the soft, scrapable underbark layers.
Chalk: Almost pure calcium. Some people with calcium deficiencies eat this just as a supplement. Take with water. Use uneaten pieces to draw “help!” messages on the sidewalk.
Clay: Similar to chalk, it’s edible and can provide some important minerals.
Eggshells: Another calcium supplement. Bonus: they once had actual egg inside them, which can remind you of happier times and pre-apocalypse brunches.
Dog/cat food: It has “food” in the name, and I always thought it smelled amazing when I was little, so why not? Well, this is why not, but it’s still preferable to some of the other items on this list.
Non-toxic, Non-nutritious, But Preferable to Eating Your Own Fingers:
Elmer’s Glue: Only the white Elmer’s kind. Non-toxic, petroleum-based, fairly mild.
Cigarettes: Bad to smoke, ok to eat (if it keeps you from going mad).
Play-doh: Duh. You ate it when you were little, and you turned out fine. Get back to your roots.
Crayons: Just colored wax. Should go right through you if you don’t have too many in one sitting.
Eat Only If Cannibalism Is No Longer An Option:
Paper: It’s mostly cellulose, which is edible and fibrous, but it also tends to be treated and colored with harsh chemicals. Keep it to one serving or less.
Leather: It’s animal hide, so technically edible if you boil it for several hours first. It’s another substance treated with harsh chemicals, so again, a last resort. Native Americans sometimes ate leather during lean times, but it would have been a much more natural version that what you’re likely to find.
I’m sure I missed some things, so let me know. It’s a fun list. If I were a photographer, I’d gather all these items and lay them out feast-style for a nice pic.
But I’m not. I just write.
Did anyone else think dog food smelled amazing when they were little? Come on. I can’t be the only one.