Bugs are ubiquitous here. Most often you see them driving down the cobblestone streets in the historic center of town or along the highway, packed with family members. I’ve seen eight people in a VW bug, five kids in the back seat, the driver behind the wheel, and his wife with a baby on her lap next to him. These bugs have been around a long time. Some are shiny with aluminum wheels. Others are rusted out, spitting smoke, and you wonder whether they have enough oomph left to get moving when the light turns green.
But, these are not the bugs I’m talking about here. I want to focus on the edible kind: ants, grasshoppers, worms, beetles, larvae and grubs.
Now, I hear you. Most of you are saying eeewww or ugh. If you are a visitor or expat who does not venture beyond the ken, your utterance might be particularly vocal.
Don’t stop now! 800 words more. Click Here!
Mexico’s Ubiquitous Bugs in Mexico News Daily
by Norma Schafer
Footnote: I had the idea to write about edible insects in Mexico a couple of months ago, but it wasn’t until our 2017 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat that I was truly inspired. Where else could I find a group of adventurous women, who come to Oaxaca to write, to join me in the conspiracy of eating culturally foreign food?
It had also been two months since I contributed a feature to Mexico News Daily and I surmised the publisher thought I had dropped off the map. So the writing retreat became my inspiration for this essay. (I also wrote about other things.)
One thing I’ve learned, you never know what you are capable of (doing or writing) unless you try.
Are you interested in our 2018 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat? Send me an email and I’ll put you on the notification list.
Bug Poetry to Whet Your Appetite: Oaxaca Inspiration
I asked my writing sisters who attended the 2017 Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat to write about their experience tasting Oaxaca edible bugs after I wrote the essay for Mexico News Daily. I just heard from Lee Schwartz, who offered up this poem as a taste bud tickler.
Birds, Bees and Witchery Grub by Lee Schwartz, New York City
He won’t eat bottom feeders,
shrimp, scallops, mollusks,
he says it’s not healthy
and religion has nothing to do with it.
I say, more for me.
As for red meat, or free range birds
he says he doesn’t need
to kill an animal to have a meal.
He’s happy with kale, tofu,
chick peas, yogurt from contented cows —
I’m not that zen. I will eat anything
that tempts me. Maguey worms on
matzoh, chicatanas on a bun.
I have no righteous reasons
to turn down fries, fructose or fajitas.
Give me some crunchy chapulines,
I love to pick the little legs out of my teeth.
Serve me stink bugs and ant larvae
down Oaxaca way,
And from Africa, termites lightly roasted,
with nutty bread crumbs is quite a delicacy.
And then you kiss me,
swirl your tongue in my mouth,
lounging on ocean bed crawlers,
scraps of ants and hoof legged lamb.
Tangled in our wet throng,
you lean in to me and taste the forbidden,
the unsavory, the agribusiness
of death and poor husbandry,
crowded pens, feathers flying.
My moist and warm cove,
the enemy you embrace,
the dreaded morsels of sustainable love.
Roasted, edible gusanos — the larvae of the maguey worm
Interested in participating in 2018. Dates are set: May 2-9, 2018. Still working on a place. Send me an email if you are interested.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Food & Recipes, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged ants, chicatanas, conference, creative writing, edible bugs, food, grasshoppers, gusanos, Mexico, Oaxaca, poetry, workshop, worms