Good, healthy meals only a shovel away

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I looked down at my fried chicken Caesar salad.

All of a sudden, it looked kind of lame.

Sure, there were ample portions of grated cheeses, croutons, chicken slices, lettuce, and the appropriate Caesar salad dressing.

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But, the TV program playing in the background, brought an end to the enjoyment of my Sunday dinner.

What only moments earlier looked like a nice meal that my sweet wife, Rosemary, had prepared, now seemed so mundane.

All thanks to the TV program.

The show’s host was interviewing a lady that called herself a “gourmet entomophagist.”

I wondered to myself “What the heck is that?”

I could tell by her clothes and her vernacular that the lady was somewhat time-warped from the 60’s.

Not that that is a problem for me.

(For even though I am not a cool, rock-n-roller, like-let’s say-a Mike Grayson, I do, however, appreciate an occasional Creedence Clearwater Revival tune.)

Well, the lady went on about her top three recipes that she was excited about.

I never really was paying any of this much mind until I heard her mention her newest craze-“Rootworm Beetle Dip!”

I caught myself stirring my lettuce with my fork as I began listening intently to the TV conversation.

I was sure I had misunderstood what she had just said.

But then, the lady began telling of her award-winning banana worm bread.

It seems that if you mix up two bananas with some shortening, flour, salt, chopped nuts, and a quarter cup of dry-roasted army worms, you get something that someone would actually pay to put in their mouths.

I looked at my wife and blurted out “I think that lady on TV intentionally eats bugs!”

Well, by now, I have put my fork down.

I am not going to miss a word of this interview.

The lady is now telling the interviewer that her children (God bless them) seem to enjoy her “Chocolate Chirpie Chip Cookies.”

That’s right, readers, the lady grinds up a half of a cup of crickets (minus the wings and legs, however)and mixes them with a cookie dough and feeds them to her children.

To hear her talk, they take to crickets as readily as any wide-mouth bass in Lake Demopolis.

I don’t know what to do.

Should I call “child welfare services” and report this lady or do I hurriedly email this recipe to the local Bass Angler Club?

While I am trying to decide what to do, this lady is now telling of the benefits of eating termites.

Not grounded up and mixed with anything, mind you, but eating them whole, after a short baking period.

You supposedly can eat them as a substitute for the typical, energy- boosting, trail-mix snack.

(Why eat a bunch of nuts and wheat germ when you can crunch on something a little more meaty?)

It seems that termites have as much energy- providing calories as most trail-mixes but with the added benefits of having higher protein, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin properties. (They are an all-in-one wonder meal!)

I felt guilty that my enthusiasm level did not reach that of the lady when the conversation turned to the delicacy of raw yellowjacket larvae, which seems to have a sweet, nutty flavor.

(Not to be confused, mind you, with moth larvae, which when fried, tastes more like bacon.)

And moms, don’t even think about sending Junior to school without a roasted giant waterbug.

It seems that most other countries in the world (outside of the US and Europe) are bug connoisseurs.

They recognize that most insects are a cheap, tasty, nutritional food source that require less land and feed than raising our staple meat sources such as cows, pigs, and chickens.

Also, most insects are far cleaner creatures than many of the other species that we currently eat.

It was noted that grasshoppers and crickets eat fresh, clean, green plants whereas crabs, lobsters, and shrimp are bottom-feeding scavengers that eat any kind of foul, decomposing material.

I write this article just to forewarn you that you may need to start expanding your palatable horizons.

For you may soon see menu’s in town offering things that you are not familiar with.

Andrew and Betsy, at McDonald’s, one day may be featuring a Mc Mosquito Meal.

And the local waiters in town my soon be getting complaints that “Waiter, there is NOT a fly in my soup.”

In the meantime, the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel has declared this year as “The Year of Food” in Alabama.

Demopolis is blessed with numerous eating establishments.

There are well over twenty in town.

Two of them, Kora’s and The Red Barn made the list of “100 Places to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.”

Many of the other restaurants in town have just as great food and specialty dishes that are really outstanding.

Smokin Jacks has had good success in its first year with its award winning BBQ.

The Foscue House remains a favorite to many.

La Gran Fiesta is wonderful.

The Farm House is doing a nice job.

Roberts’ lunches are as good as ever.

The new restaurant downtown, Napolean’s, is making a name for itself with some of its dishes.

These and the numerous other eating places in Demopolis give us a wide range of eating out opportunities.

Or, of course, just take your shovel and dig up some grubworms and mole crickets and make your own sandwich.