Eat It!

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Every once in a while I come across a news story that lets me know that I’m getting older, and the world is going in a direction that is beyond me. The article that put me in this weary state described that mealworm margarine and cricket flour is on our horizon.  Crickets will boost the protein in flour and mealworms are rich in nutrients and easy to farm.

Bugs!  Bugs in our food, and not by accident.  No. No. And No. That’s the end for me.  If bugs become an environmentally friendly, fat free food source, then one of the core tenets of my existence is obsolete.  I have built a life on the principle of bugs being icky.   It’s part of my fabric.  No amount of fat shaming or earth- loving green tyranny will change that.

If this becomes a reality, what will it mean for our relationship with bugs?  Will exterminators go out of business?   If your house gets overrun with ants will it suddenly be like when your bananas go bad?  You just make a bread? If your kid comes home with lice will you say, Good for you.  Now you have your after school snack. And kudos to you, kiddo.  You’re self-sustaining.

And how will the margarine be made?  Is it not butter because it’s not milk?  Or are they milking these worms with tiny little pumps?  Or, just gross speculation here (with an emphasis on gross) are they mashed up into a fine paste?  Is their poop part of the paste, or how do you keep the poop out of the product? Then again, perhaps feces is a trifle when, after all, you are eating worms.

What is outside the social parameters now?  What is unfit to eat?  Will all social taboos dissolve under the buckling pressure of healthy fats and global warming?

I think bug eating will change us as a people.  And I guess I’d rather be dead, than eat a worm.

Packed Lunch

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Every day I pack a lunch for my boys.  And every day it’s an experiment in what you want out of life and what you actually get. If I packed what my boys wanted to eat in the scant twenty minutes they are allowed to partake of sustenance, then all I would need is a cache of Snickers bars and a case of Dr Pepper.  Of course, I would never indulge this sugar encrusted fantasy, but a happy medium has to be reached.   

There are a few considerations to take into account when assembling the contents of the lunchbox.  First, the kids have got to eat something.  It’s bad enough when they get home they eye up everything from the sofa to the dog with ravenous and predatory eyes.  

Second, you must face the reality that people are watching.  Teachers, lunch lady volunteers, moms who hang out at school are assessing your experiment and adding a new hypothesis of how this food translates into your child’s behavior.  Chances are their child is sipping water and nibbling broccoli while nursing a backache from toting home Dickens’ entire oeuvre.

And so the delicate dance of aspirations and reality are played out in the confines of Storm Troopers and insulated vinyl.  I pack a sandwich because I have not completely given up. I pack a stick of cheese because the sandwich always comes back with only minor abrasions.  I pack a juice box because they have a water bottle at their desks so who the heck would want more water? I pack a sweet, cookies or a pouch of yogurt, because pessimism has been a guiding principle in my life and why would it let me down now?

Finally, each and every day I pack a vegetable or fruit. It is the most time consuming of all the contents.  I take the stems off the grapes. I peel the oranges and put them in little containers. I slice cucumbers and provide dip. But each and every day, that fruit comes back. The truth is I send produce on a one hundred and eighty day walkabout.

I keep hoping we are all a little wiser when it’s done.