Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Eats a Caterpillar

There is nothing quite like having your own garden. With only the initial cost of some seeds or a few 6-packs of plants and some TLC, you have an abundance of almost free food. Unfortunately, for our short growing season and really wet summer, it seems like everything ripened and was ready at once.

That’s not always a bad thing. Veggies are good for us after all. It just means having tomato sandwiches, Swiss chard patties, green smoothies and steamed veggies day after day. Meal after meal. I’m lucky that one of my favorites, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce on it was readily available.

How much more fresh of a meal can you get than throwing on a pot of salted water with a steamer basket in it, going outside your side door and cutting a few chunks of broccoli off a plant, rinsing it off, cooking it and plating it? Maybe ten minutes to Voila!

Seems like an ideal dinner or lunch, huh? Green. Healthy. Cancer-fighting properties in the cruciferous broccoli. I had this many, many times until I had gone back to the stove once for a second helping and noticed a special addition to the steamer basket. Let me present you with Exhibit A. Or, maybe I should call it Exhibit C for caterpillar.

Exhibit C for Caterpillar. Or, P for Extra protein.

Yea, that’s right. Ca-ter-pil-lar. I was just as ewwed out as you probably are right now thinking about it. But, I was there seeing it. Live. In the flesh. Well, it wasn’t live. It was steamed. But it was there. Plump as all get out. In front of me.

“Hmm…a steamed caterpillar? That’s gross,” I thought. And then, it hit me. How many caterpillars had stayed intertwined in the web of that dense greenery? And, if so, how many had I eaten?

These buggers ended up on my tomato plants when they ran out of broccoli and cauliflower to eat.

My stomach instantly flipped. Thank goodness I have no gag reflex, or there could have been a mess. I know that most of the world willingly eats insects and I know they are high in protein. They eat them on Survivor and provide sustenance in wilderness situations, as my guy, Bear Grylls does.

This one ended up in my veggie crisper drawer. Too many bugs in my kitchen for my taste.
This website offers all sorts of information on eating bugs if you want to try eating them.

Now, I’ll admit that I’ve often considered catching, roasting and then chocolate dipping June bugs but I just haven’t caught enough to bother. (They are supposed to be a delicacy and I haven’t had them once since living in New England). But, there is something different about a crunchy, toasted morsel vs a squishy ol’ worm sack to try to intentionally eat.

Okay, so I actually tried these. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself...It's that crispy vs squishy thing. Wanna try?

It mostly comes down to texture. And legs. All those little legs…so not appetizing in my book (I heard you pull off the June bug legs before chocolate dipping). Those legs are what I noticed one evening on Five Eleven’s plate. We had finished a candlelight dinner of grilled steak, seasoned French fries, fresh garden tomato slices and steamed broccoli, also directly out of the garden. Five Eleven had left several fries on her plate next to her bone and that’s when I saw it as I began clearing the table. I saw the legs. I nonchalantly reached down to grab that little critter off her place while she was still seated at the table.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I replied while holding the soft, little tube sack in my hand.

“Was that a bug?” She knew my steamer story.

“Gosh, no. I wouldn’t serve you those.”

And, yet, I did. It must have clung to the broccoli just until it got to her plate and fell off and camouflaged itself against the French fries. Thank goodness they were crinkle-cut fries or she may have spotted it sooner. And, instantly hurled. Seriously. She would have. And, that would have been a romantical evening killer. It’s all fun and games until somebody eats a caterpillar.


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