You all know him. The guy at the Christmas party who has just one more story before he will turn loose of you.
Well, that guy is me. Because I have one more tale before I climb into the airplane to San Francisco.
Yesterday a bit of exotica came into my life. A local friend called me and asked if I would be interested in some bite-size pieces of adventure. Having long ago adopted the advise of the Sondheim song that “I Never Do Anything Twice,” I decided I had to try almost everything once.
My friend dropped off the ziplock bag you see in the photograph at the top of this post. Anyone who has lived in Mexico very long will recognize the gift: chapulines. Grasshoppers.
Well, a very specific grasshopper prepared in a very special way. Grasshoppers from Oaxaca Collected when they are young and tender. Toasted in clay ovens. And flavored with chili and lime. (Of course, chili and lime. They are Mexican snacks. No pickled onion crisp flavors here.)
I took the bag. Examined the oddly-red corpses of the grasshoppers. And decided there was only one thing to do in a situation like this. I grabbed the fattest bit of my new fast food. Took a quick look at it. And into my mouth it went.
I can now say I have eaten a grasshopper. It was soft on the inside. But without much flavor other than the overwhelming taste of chili powder. And crunchy on the outside. Just a bit too crunchy. Like eating bougainvillea twigs. And just a bit stale. After all, the grasshoppers are gathered fresh in the summer.
The rest of the afternoon and evening, I did my best to act as a chapulin pusher. To a person, Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans refused my very kind offer. The young Mexican woman who cooks at the restaurant around the corner had never seen them before and was shocked that anyone would even think of eating them.
I think I now know how some of the cooking show hosts feel when they try to get people to try something new.
I understand that chapulines can be (and are) used as fillings in other foods. So, who knows how many of us have actually tried them in Mexico?
Maybe I actually do some things twice.
But that is the end of the story. You can now head off and talk to that far more interesting woman by the punch bowl. I think she has a few food tips of her own.