Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Too Soon at the Table

Long ago I wrote a piece for Salon about accidentally eating ants. It's one of the few times I've been able to get a by-line into Salon, but that's not what this post is about.

Rather it's about eating insects, which has become part of the popular discussion lately what with Bizarre Foods hosted by Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel and today with an intriguing article in The New York Times, "Waiter, There's Soup in My Bug."

I like this sort of stuff. I see the sense of it, even though I'm presently and indefinitely a vegetarian. It's curious that the chef promoting insect-eating finds the eating of lobster repugnant.

The author of the article writes, " ... but can you really call yourself a fearless foodie if your taste buds have never tangoed with the rotted-palm grubs of Uganda (yes, they’re dug out of the pulpy trunks of dead trees), or Chinese scorpion soup or Mexican stink-bug pâté?"

I suppose that's so, but I live out in the boondocks, and I don't know where to find a restaurant that (purposely) features insects. In fact, my last sin against the Faith of Vegetarianism was to sample sushi at Ocean Zen.

It was good, but nothing like eating ants.

You could call the taste bitter, but you wouldn't be quite right. Add tangy, and you'd be closer. The flavor was sharp, woodsy, but it lacked texture. Of course you wouldn't expect texture. Ants are minuscule, after all. Certainly not big enough to crackle as you bite down on them.

I didn't gag or spit out the ant-and-cereal mixture. There is a sense of people-aren't-watching freedom at that time of morning. I find myself open to possibilities, willing to accept a different rhythm for the day to come. 

Read all of "Ants for Breakfast" here.

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