Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Bravo for having such a great event at the library. I think our events rather mundane in comparison...But there's absolutely no way you'd get me to eat bugs!!!


By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:48 AM  

To be exact, there are 44 of the 50 states participating in this summer's "Catch the Reading Bug" Collaberative Summer Library Program. I know this because I have challenged my kids to a trivia quiz in August, after the SRP is officially over. There are 10 questions, based on the weekly programs we held here. If 7 out of 10 answers are correct, then the "quizee" wins a prize! Just because the program is officially over doesn't mean that the kids can't continue to have fun and look forward to coming to the library!
Hats off to your bug eating adventure's success! As for me, I'd rather stick to talking about bugs than eating them, thank you!
WOW! I've finally found a food that I DON'T want to try!!

By Blogger Bonnie Bugmuster, at 3:50 PM  

Whoa Nellie! That brings back memories of elementary school. I don't remember if it was a church program, something in Brownies or Girl Scouts, or school, but I distinctly remember chocolate covered ants and fried meal worms.

Thank you, I think.

By Anonymous diann, at 5:10 PM  

Well, that certainly made up for your recent silence. This is possibly the most interesting blog entry ever!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

Way to go, Bess! Aren't you glad, though, that you went for crickets and not fried tarantulas? Even typing the word gives me the heebie-jeebies!

By Blogger KathyR, at 8:00 PM  

What a great story!! Cute kids-reminds me that Sept. isn't so far away! Jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:21 AM  

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008  

Every day seems to fill up with More Things that must be done Right Now! But I have a wonderful story to share and I will just make time to tell it here and now. I'll leave the photos up for a day or two just to prove that it all really happened, then take them down.

The Bug Banquet

The statewide summer reading program theme is Catch the Reading Bug. All across Virginia – and goodness knows how many other states – there are bug themed programs, stories, songs, magicians, puppets and if you are lucky enough to live in my county – banquets. Last June when the school children made field trips to the library to hear about upcoming summer reading fun I told them the story of when I accidentally ate not one, but TWO BIG mouthfuls of bugs – ants, to be precise - and I promised them that if they joined our reading club, sometime in July they would have the opportunity to eat real bugs. Not that they would have to eat bugs, mind you, but if they wanted to ... if they had ever been curious about it ... if they had ever wondered what a bug tasted like, I would have some bugs for them to eat.

Soon afterwards, my order for Crick-ettes (assorted flavors) showed up in the UPS truck and a few days later came the chocolate covered mealy worms and crickets. The chocolate covered ones weren't too different looking from chocolate covered raisins or Chinese noodles. The Crick-ettes were pretty gross – no doubt about them – they are true crickets, complete with little serrated legs and bulging black eyes.
These are bugs and I wasn't sure I could eat one. I pretty much expected to eat them, but each time I'd look at them I'd get a little sick to my stomach.

And yet I know people the world over eat bugs and I even knew from experience that bugs are a tasty addition to the diet – if only I could get over my instinctive repugnance for things that go crackle then squish under my shoe. On Monday, I showed them to my visiting son, who opened up the package, poured them into his hand and popped them into his mouth. “Mmmm, good” he assured me “got a texture like soft shell crabs.” He left one on the table with the comment that I owed it to the kids to eat at least one and then walked away. I knew he was right, pushed the little fried critter to my back molars where it would be closest to my throat and furthest from my taste buds and crunched down.

He was right. They're okay. I'd say they're more like popcorn hulls sprinkled with potato chip flavoring, though there is also a faint buggy mustiness to them. After that first crispy one, it was easy to eat a chocolate covered one and then I knew that I would be able to really gross those kids out by biting the head off first and then crunching into the body, before gobbling the legs. I could milk this for a looooong time.

Thirty four squirming bodies showed up on Tuesday. Thirty four little brains had been obsessing about eating bugs for a month. Thirty four little soldiers wondered if they had what it took to Eat A Bug!

First, of course, came the reading and the maps showing where people who ate crickets lived and where the ones who ate fried tarantulas lived. A picture book of disgusting food held photos of bug food but also haggis and bacteria floating in milk – or ... yogurt. After all, one kid's upset stomach is another's delicacy.

But then came the all important moment – the bug eating time. A lot of children wanted to look and what seemed like a lot wanted to sample too. They had time to pause, to consider, to watch me eat a bug and not fall flat out dead. There was squealing and giggling and not a few tongues stuck way out. But there were a lot of takers, bold children who climbed over their repugnance and sampled something way outside their comfort zone.

After that it was time to make fun candy critters and cookie cricket cages. But while they were assembling their confections I asked how many had actually eaten a bug. Maybe two thirds raised their hands. I then asked them, “Don't you feel proud of yourselves now?”

There was an audible pause and then I saw their little chests lift, their faces light up with dawning realization that they were proud of themselves. They'd faced something they were grossed out by – even afraid of - and they'd conquered their fears. I congratulated them on their bravery and their newly found survival skills. “Now you know that if you're stranded on a jungle island, you can always survive by eating bugs,” I told them. Maybe another half dozen hopped right up, asking to try a bug. Even some of the mothers gave it a go.

We've done a lot of fun programs in the library, but this is the first time I've ever really changed a whole group of children, pushed them to think a little better of themselves, to have a little more confidence in their abilities. I honestly think this is the best thing I've done for the children around here and as a bonus, it was a whole lot of fun!

Now – just to get a picture of what my summer has been like – this lively event was sandwiched between a Friends of the library board meeting at noon and a governing library board (my bosses) meeting at 4 p.m. I really am swamped – and I really will post about knitting or spinning or something fibery – one of these days.

posted by Bess | 9:38 PM