The Season of Eating

The season of eating is upon us.

It starts with Halloween.  Short and under the cover of darkness, our gluttony whets its whistle. We try to camouflage our naked desire for the foil wrapped sweets with costumes and children, but if someone peeked in the window they would see us with two Twix hanging out of our mouth like walrus tusks. We buy five pound bags of our favorites and then tell our spouses Hush, I bought those Almond Joys for the kids. The whole holiday is only a few hours and it’s over. But we want more. Pumpkin Spice is our new obsession and we’ll put it on anything. It effectively functions as a dinner bell.

Then a simple flip of the calendar brings Thanksgiving. The beast is loose. We don’t need to hide in night. We are fully committed to spend a day with our distended bellies bumping up against the dining room table. We will shut down businesses, financial markets, and general operations to feast. No frills, no presents, no costumes. It is all about food. There’s attention paid to all aspects of food consumption: dishes, silverware, tablecloths. Recipes are made and kept secret like family heirlooms. Your family probably doesn’t have a crest, but it has a sacred Jello mold. And nobody makes it better! With cranberry stains speckling your shirts, your family declares this is the gravy soaked hill we are willing to die on.

After spending an entire weekday with a tablecloth tucked into our pants, it seems perfectly reasonable to extend the gustatory celebration to one week. From Christmas to New Year’s it is a gourmand’s dream of fatted shrimp, sugar plum fantasies, candy canes, houses made out of cookies, and roast beef. Our waists expand and our guilt sets in. We hide under the cover of religion. I converted our kitchen into a fudge shop because of Christ. How dare you question why I’ve made fourteen batches of cookies!

We concede it is a lot of food, perhaps more than we need. So once again, just like during Halloween, we knock on our neighbors’ doors and offer food instead of taking it.  It closes the loop on the season of eating, which commenced with taking and ends with giving, but always was about sharing, laughing, and being together.

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.