Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not With a Goat, Not in a Boat

          Sorry, Dr. Seuss, but there is something even worse than eating Green Eggs and Ham.  It is eating bugs, and I will not do it, Sam I Am.
          Incredibly, our daughter, Nicole did. And I am an eye witness.  We were in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, in a shop where a young man was clerking, who convinced her to try a dried cricket and a dried meal worm. 
          They were highly seasoned with chili and lime, but there are not enough chilis or limes in this universe, to make me put one of those creepy creatures in my mouth.  Even as a child, when my friends would make Creepy Crawler candies, I couldn’t do it.
          I might add that we asked the clerk if he had tried them and he said he was a vegetarian.  Right.  That’s also what I would say if I worked there.
          And yes, I know millions of people in the world eat bugs, they're loaded with protein, and this is currently A Thing.  I'm still not doing it.
          Until now, I considered myself an adventurous eater. In fact, I would think sneering, judgmental thoughts about people who wrinkle their noses and say, “Ewww” about things they’ve never even tried.
          I watched people say this about chocolate-dipped strawberries back in the early 80s, and then again about putting watermelon or peaches in salsa just a few years ago.  And, of course, both of these are wildly popular today.
          In the 90s, I won a glorious trip to Patricia Wells’ cooking school in Provence, France.
          St. Bob and I toured an olive orchard and spoke with the folks making olive oil. Well, I don’t win these trips for nothing—it’s because I think outside the box and look at food and say, “Hey, what if we went vertical with this?” Or “What if we added vanilla instead of cayenne?” In fact, I suggested lacing creme brulee with lavender while I was at Patricia Wells' house.
          So I said to the olive oil proprietors, “Have you ever considered flavoring your oil with basil? Or maybe garlic, or peppers?  Even lemon or truffles would be wonderful.” And so French, right?
          “Oh, no, no,” he said.  “Why try to change something that’s already perfect?”
          Alex Guarnaschelli (who went on to become a celebrity chef, “Chopped” judge, and restaurant owner) was Patricia Wells' assistant at the time and said, “Because we’re Americans, and that’s what we do.”  (I will love her forever, by the way, even if she did get me to eat an entire fried anchovy, with the head still on it.) 
          And, of course, now you can find flavored olive oils everywhere.
So, despite thinking of myself as being a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to foodie matters, I have now discovered my limit and it has six legs.  Or eight.  Or none, but it’s slimy and it slithers. I cannot eat an insect.
          This did, however, teach me not to judge the nose-wrinklers. Because now I’m one of them.
If you like cooking-- or just crazy people-- you MUST read my novel, Sisters in the Mix.  And check out my newest novel, Golden, in paperback or on Kindle.

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