The first food I ate in 2014…
…was a cricket.
How many people can say that?
And yet, there you go.
My husband has had this interest in going beyond his comfort zone and exploring other sources of nutrition (i.e. “bugs”) for a few months now. Nothing obsessive — more along the lines of, “Could I possibly get past my American upbringing and eat something that many in the rest of the world consider normal?”
Enter the Eat a Bug Cookbook that went on his wishlist for Christmas this year.
I was NOT about to get him this, so I thought I was safe… until my brother came along and decided this was JUST the book my husband needed.
Not one to back down from a challenge… or to slow down when a specific course of action has been decided upon… my beloved ordered bugs, which arrived my the big brown van on New Year’s Eve. We returned from Mass to see the box upon the front steps, and I knew that my fate was sealed.
We were going to eat bugs.
Now, to be fair, there was no way that he was going to ask any of us to do it… but there was also no way that I was going to let him walk this path alone, nor was I going to let it be said that I was a coward who backed down because it was too “ooky.”
Yes, those are crickets that have been baked in an oven. Nice and crunchy.
And this is me, in all my blurriness, actually eating one. To be fair, judging totally by taste alone, it’s a bit like eating pork rinds. A bunch of crunch, with just a hint of aftertaste. In reality, however, I ate a bug. A real, honest-to-goodness bug. And I was not happy about it. I was on the phone at the time, talking to my parents, and sharing the experience with them as well. I’m pretty sure a lot of “eww! Eww! Eww!” was said during that time.
Next came caterpillar cookies. Actually, those are wax worm caterpillars.. or whatever… on top.
And yes, I muscled down one of those, too. I pretty much just went for the caterpillar because, quite honestly, I think white chocolate is just as gross, and I wasn’t about to add that to the list of insults my mouth was enduring. Again, going simply by taste, there really wasn’t much there. But mentally, this pretty much sent me over the edge.
The final round was crickets in orzo. By this time I just grabbed a forkful, ate it to show my kids that I wasn’t going to let them go anywhere I wasn’t willing to go, and called it done. This was actually the least offensive of the bunch, and if you didn’t see their little faces looking out at you, you might actually eat this one with no trouble.
I could show you pictures of all my kids taking turns eating what Daddy made, but let’s just leave it with this little guy:
Joseph, who knew full well what he was eating… but doesn’t have the sense of cultural taboos that the rest of us do… found his cookie to be delicious and ate the whole darn thing.
My two oldest boys ate everything without the slightest hesitation. My third son, Thomas, wanted firm promises that the caterpillar cookies would not come in contact with any of the REAL cookies in the cookie jar.
My girls tried just about everything, but were less than enthusiastic in their responses.
My mother-in-law, ever the optimist, was eager and willing to try it all… and try it she did. Being the farm girl that she is at heart, she was much more able to get past the mental block that the rest of us have, and was able to judge it more on the merits of taste. While it wasn’t anything that she would run to as a first choice of food, she saw nothing wrong with any of it, and would eat it if that was what was on the menu. My husband was able to say the same.
Thankfully, after a morning of trying all sorts of new things, the kitchen was turned over to me, and I was able to cook a very NORMAL meal of pork roast, cabbage/onions/sausage, mashed potatoes, and stewed apples/cranberries for our New Year’s meal.
In more exciting news (for me, at least)
I made a sock!!!!
A real, honest-to-goodness sock!!!!
This is really huge for me, because I have ALWAYS been intimidated by projects such as these. Only REAL knitters (or crocheters) could pull off something like this. Not me.
But something happened during Advent, as I was working on various projects. I began to see that there is not just one, “right” way to do a heel, or a cuff, or whatever. Once I saw the “why’s” of the various steps, I was able to see a bit more clearly where I could change things, or fudge, or whatever. It became a more fun process… like cooking, for me… and less a series of steps that I had to follow slavishly or risk ruining the whole thing. That mental shift done, I was able to enjoy it and the end result was a “Christmas sock” (you have to say it like Mr. Bean) that fit my daughter’s feet perfectly.
Happy New Year, y’all!