Natural Instinct

They’ll eat anything, these two. Even if it makes them sick. I’m amazed at what they’ll  put in their mouths. A rotting apple core on the side of the road. A discarded Q-Tip (eeewwwh!) And grasshoppers–fresh grasshoppers.

I guess the grasshopper delicacy shouldn’t surprise me. And for Chloe (on the right), it was an acquired taste. She first discovered grasshoppers when one jumped in front of her and her hunting instinct took over. She caught the little sucker and immediately spit it out when it kicked in her mouth.

The next time she caught one, she twitched when the grasshopper kicked, but she didn’t immediately spit it out. But eventually she did and then she just wanted to play with it, coaxing it with her nose to get it to jump again. And after a few more catches, she finally decided that the best use of her booty was not to spit it out. So she ate it…crunch, crunch, crunch.

It doesn’t surprise me because arthropods are eaten by humans in many areas of the world, although usually not raw. I have a book in my library called Unmentionable Cuisine that describes how to prepare grasshoppers (and locusts and other various insects).

One of the chefs I met while working on The Great Ranch Cookbook, handed me a copy of Unmentionable Cuisine while she prepared dinner for her guests one night. As she slowly cut asparagus on the bias, she said that she traveled everywhere with that book. In the summer, she cooked at a high end fishing lodge in Montana. In the winter, she moved to the southern hemisphere, cooking in fishing camps in New Zealand or in the Yucatan. “You never know what kind of food sources you’ll find in some remote camps, so this book comes in handy,” she said.

One thing the book did for me was to open my eyes — and mind — to the fact that one man’s disdain is another man’s delicacy. I still don’t think I approve of Chloe’s new favorite snack, but I can’t fault her for trying new things.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Natural Instinct

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Eater « Pen & Fork

  2. My sweet, 14-year-old terrier mix Roscoe will eat anything too, though his old arthritic bones stop him from chasing grasshoppers these days. He does, however, chase ANYTHING that falls from the kitchen table, and has tried to eat receipts, pens, utility bills. Kind of hilarious, pathetic, and sweet.

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