Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Kids Made Me Eat a Bug!

It's true they forced me to eat a bug, pupa more accurately.

Here's how. We are a mixed Chinese/American household that has lived in both Minnesota and Taiwan. As a way of having my children receptive to both cultures, I encouraged them to eat with an open mind. Duck brain, fish eyes and fish eggs are not uncommon at our table. Similarly, the kids are open to lutefisk, pickled herring, caviar and other cultural foods from my side. I've pridefully blogged about them eating snails, cat-tails, and Somali-goat. The kids watch Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods and love to say "we've had that."

About a month ago we were at a Korean restaurant enjoying kim-chee, spicy squid and the likes. After our meal we browsed through the attached grocery store where my son excitedly ask if we could buy a can of the silkworms he found.

Let me digress to provide some background here. Rationally I support insect protein as a healthy, cheap, sustainable way of feeding the planet. I've tried meal worms, ants and grasshoppers before. But I just can't get past the texture of their exoskeletons and mushy middles. Eating bugs sends the irrational part of my brain into gagging, hissy fits.

Knowing this irrational thinking contradicts my prideful preaching about being open to new foods, I took the wise cowards way and try to put him off buying the can. Not seeing a price I say, "It might be expensive. We can get it another time." No luck, as the boy takes the can to the counter to discover that it's less than two bucks. Worse still, an older well dressed Korean man looks pridefully at my son and tells him about how much he enjoyed eating silkworms as a child. He says he is glad to see that children still like it today. This kind old ass actually made it so I had to buy them.

The kids made several requests to open this can of worms. Each time I managed to escape by reminding them that it's late, or that they already brushed their teeth and so on.

Tonight we're watching Bizarre Foods shoot an episode in Thailand, and damned if Zimmern doesn't go to a rural village to eat silkworms. The kids demanded we open our can. They even called me out on being a chicken. To save my pride and hide my hypocrisy, I quickly dipped my fingers in the nightmarish broth and popped one of the pupae in my mouth. If I would have been smart enough to just swallow it whole, I would have been ok, but I chewed. It squirted buggy, musty, nutty ooze into my mouth causing me to wretch, run and hurl in the utility sink.

Here's the cool part. After watching me eat and barf both kids still willingly tried a bug too. The boy told the girl to just imagine they're shrimp. I'm very proud of them both.

1 comment:

SeanH said...

Lutefisk? That is just MEAN! :)