Thumbs Up for Tempura Tarantula

“I ate tarantula legs.”
“And crickets,” Frederick added.
We shocked the preschool staff with our account of the Bug Festival.

The Bug Festival had many hands-on exhibits – silk worms, giant millipedes, and butterflies. But Frederick kept saying, “I want to see the man who eats bugs.”
So did I.


We attended the one o’clock show featuring Eat-A-Bug author David George Gordon.
I really will eat just about anything.
In our “Pest or Dinner” Contest in March, with each entry I would wonder “Could I eat that?” In most cases, no problem. The cockroach was a key exception. It is hard to imagine eating a roach.
And as it turns out, before Gordon’s presentation, we were offered raffle tickets for a chance to participate in a bug eating content. Gordon must know that most of us draw the line at cockroaches if we do not draw the line far, far before because the contest was actually a cockroach eating contest.
I expect that’s why he offered an iPod as first prize.
I need an iPod and I am too cheap to buy one. Although I was pretty sure just one month before that I could never eat a cockroach, I found out that I can be bought pretty easily. I joined the raffle with about four other people. I had a 40% chance of being selected to compete. Even with such good odds, two young teens won the raffle and represented the one o’clock group later in the day.
Even missing the cockroach opportunity, the show offered many others. Gordon cooked four dishes featuring scorpion, cricket, grasshopper, and tarantula. For each dish, he chose audience volunteers to help him prepare the dish and then other volunteers to sample.
Adventuresome adolescents and teens jumping in their seats (and at times shouting “ME, ME”) tended to be chosen. Frederick got increasingly grumpy that he was not selected. Gordon did not appear to select children sitting on their mother’s lap sharing a cookie with a friendly preschooler in the next seat, so I didn’t think he had much of a chance at being selected.
With a great propensity to adapt to life’s circumstances, Frederick decided to jump in the aisle and wave.
“Frederick, this one is to taste a tarantula leg.”
Before he could scramble to his seat, he was selected.
We headed to the stage.
“Mama, I don’t want to eat a tarantula.”
Gordon said “No one up here ‘caves.’ If he won’t eat it, you should.”
I don’t really plan to be a parent who does everything for the child, but I did make an exception in this case.
The Taste Test

I don’t know if it was the leg itself or if I participated in the ultimate test of “you cannot ruin tempura,” but it was very good. I dreamed of a plate full of legs.
Tarantulas are native to our area so perhaps I should take a collection jar with me on my walks this fall. That’s their time to roam and find a mate. They probably don’t have a lot of humans hunting them, even here on the edge of the Sequoia National Forest.
Whether tarantulas are depression buster foods, I don’t know. But I had a good time tasting them. The real treat was hearing the preschool children and teachers saying “ewwwwww.”

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