This started because I have bit of a reputation as a picky eater. When I was in first year college some friends and I used to watch comedy videos on Friday nights. This was in 1985 and we got to know comedians like Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, and one of my favorites – George Carlin. Carlin did one routine about Fussy Eaters. Among the many characteristics of fussy eaters Carlin mentioned in his routine were the fact that picky eaters won’t eat something if it SOUNDS disgusting, or if they can’t identify it, or the food sounds weird, or anything with a “y” and a “g” in it, or …. It goes on and it’s a really funny routine.
After we watched it I distinctly remember my friend Diane looking right at me and saying, “That’s what you’re like… you’re a picky eater!”
This was news to me.
Since then I have observed my fussy / picky eater qualities at work and I would almost agree. I reminded Diane of her comment a while ago and she has no recollection of it. She scarred me for life and she doesn’t even remember!
So, when the idea for my list came up Eating a Bug on Purpose was automatically on it. Bugs are a growing source of protein in many countries and they are becoming more popular in North America. Crickets are regularly ground into flour in many Indian restaurants and bugs show up on many other menus as well.
My friend Donna at work sent me a new book to the library system on cooking with insects. Ick. There is also a popular kids book called ‘How to Eat Fried Worms” – I have it out but I still haven’t read it.
I had no idea how I was going to find food grade quality bugs to eat. This was my first problem. I’ve eaten lots of bugs in my day but none of them on purpose.
The first problem was solved by my friend Amanda when were at Universal Studios in Florida. She came across Salt n Vinegar Crickets and bought them as part of my birthday present. I was suitably horrified. I saved them for 10 months until I hosted Bug and Wine Night at my house. My friend Krista, who would have to eat a bug with me, told me that Sticky’s Candy had all kinds of bugs for sale too!
So, after a trip to Sticky’s I was set. I even brought out my finest dessert plates to serve them on.
Our bug night was Friday, January 15th. Krista, Monica, and Jody were coming over and we were having real appies as well as the bugs. Krista and Monica agreed to try them with me and Jody and my mom were happily documenting the evening. What I wasn’t counting on was Monica bringing over live crickets that would have been fed to her pet frog. This was wayyyy out of my comfort zone! In a lovely act of Karma one of them got stuck in Monica’s throat… see video.
2016-01-16 02.40.48 from Vesta Giles on Vimeo.
In order to make this work I was chasing the bugs with Fireball, Monica had wine, and Krista had Sambuca and vitamin water.
The question is, how much fireball do you need to ingest to make you forget you’re eating bugs? Answer…. a lot!
We started with the live ones, which we mercifully drowned in alcohol. Since I hate pills or anything else small touching my tongue, I have perfected a technique for filling my mouth with liquid, tilting my head back, opening my mouth and then dropping the pill / bug in so it never actually touches my mouth. I may say that by the end of the night, with fireball as my coach, I was having my picture taken with the bugs on my tongue and I was chewing them after. This was while the room was spinning.
2016-01-16 02.48.40 from Vesta Giles on Vimeo.
How were the bugs?
Despite being flavoured, none of them really had any flavour. They were very dry and not something I’d rush out to do again. I can see the value of the added protein in a flour, though. I would still have a hard time with fresher, squishy bugs, worms, or things bigger than a cricket. I may be crazy but I have my limits.
Why was this crazy?
Oh come on!
Would I do it again?
If someone bet me a large amount of money … sure!
Huge shout out to Krista, Monica, and even Jody for sharing this with me and for my mom and Jody who were both able to take pictures while simultaneously laughing to the point where they were crying. And a huge shout out to Amanda who found the first bugs for me!