With most bugs, I have a live and let live policy. They leave me alone. I leave them alone. The only exceptions are cockroaches and centipedes. Those I suck up with the vacuum cleaner from a safe distance. And that’s only if they’re in the house. If they stay outside, they are free to do whatever bugs do.
I’m a writer, but in my other life, I taught biology. I’ve talked to my students about using insects (like crickets) as a potential food sources. I’ve encouraged them not to dismiss things without trying them. Deep down, though, I know I’m never eating any crickets. Because ewww.
But then my five-year-old nephew invites me to Bugfest – a scientific and culinary bug thing – because in his words ‘it’s cool’ and the bugs are ‘tasty’. It’s difficult to say no to a cute five-year-old. And I’d read something online about ground cricket protein. Chocolate covered ants? Those aren’t supposed to be that bad either, right? I figured I could stomach some ground cricket bars or chocolate something. As long as it didn’t look like bugs. I would just pretend it was something else.
Bugfest, by the way, is pretty awesome. I encourage everyone to attend!
The bug food part, though…well…there was no hiding the bugs. There were no ground crickets or chocolate covered ant clusters. At least, not that I saw. Here’s the food:
My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew tried everything. As for me? No, I didn’t eat any of it. That deal was sealed when my sister told me she didn’t really like the crickets because she got cricket legs stuck in her teeth. Cricket. Legs.
Here’s the thing. I’d agreed to go to bugfest, not eat there. I was a little ashamed. But only a little. Mostly, I was happy because there were no cricket legs stuck in my teeth.
But in honor of Fearless Fridays, and to support Bugfest and the brave chefs that work so hard to make good food from insects and not hide those insects, I’ve decided to make a pledge. I told my nephew I’d try one of the dishes at the next Bugfest. I’ll have to do it that way.
And since I’m facing my fear of having my book out in the world, certainly I can face my fear of creepy crawlies. Although, Bugfest is still a few months away. Maybe my nephew will forget by then?! There’s always hope and, as they say, hope springs eternal…
|Laurie McKay is an author and biology instructor who lives in Durham, NC. When she’s not working, she spends time with her family and her two elderly dogs. You can find out more and see pictures of her dogs at lauriemckay.net or by following her on twitter. Her debut MG fantasy novel, VILLAIN KEEPER, will be available from HarperCollins on Feb 3rd, 2015.|