15 January 2007

Chez Parthenia et Primo, La Cuisine Exotique

So we (Primo, Meg, Vincent, Emily, Joshua, Carrie, and children) had a potluck. We ate fried water bugs ("Mang Da Na"), among other things.

Carrie was the first to try one, and she put forth a valiant effort before she declared that she didn't like them. Joshua and Vincent worked on theirs next, and given how little actual "stuff" there is to eat on them, they certainly worked. Vincent, the seasoned water bug eater, actually cooked them after their eyes freaked me out and I couldn't bring myself to cook them. He gave helpful instructions on where to find the choicest meat on the bug--if you can call bug innards "meat". I can't remember what Joshua said. Primo just jumped right in and bit one in half. It was too much for him, and he spit everything out. You can still smell it in the trash can. Primo looks cute eating water bugs. I'd like to see him do it again.

Emily worked on hers in silence, or perhaps I was in the zone, preparing to eat my water bug and didn't hear what she said. I did manage to snap a great picture of her, though. And that just left me, the person who said, "if you have a recipe for fried water bugs, and you can buy water bugs to fry, shouldn't you try them at least once?" The person who looked the frozen little Mang Da Na's in their little beady eyes and thought, "I can't cook you. You're just too disgusting. What if I can't get bug taste out of my well seasoned wok?" To say that I ate a water bug is really an overstatement. I nibbled a leg and spit out what I could.

I doubt I will eat them again. I now have a sore spot in the roof of my mouth where the bug guts touched. I have a very mild nut allergy and I get the same thing when I eat too many pistachios or pecans. So maybe I'm allergic to water bugs, and shouldn't eat them. While I still eat pistachios and pecans in moderate amounts, they taste good. I think this is a case of true "never again".

They had a lemony taste, rather they tasted like lemon-flavored insects. Nothing like chicken, nothing like shrimp or craw daddies, as I had hoped. It wasn't so much the lemon-flavored insect taste as much as as the squished bug texture that was so off-putting.

All told, it was a very fun evening. Primo and I don't get to hang out with adults together very often, and I hang out with all the adults present (except for Carrie, Joshua's wife) on Wednesday nights to play games. We played a round of Werewolves of Miller's Hollow, which I'm totally addicted to after playing it on Saturday, too.

I hope to do it again--not eat bugs, but have a crazy food potluck. I was thinking rabbit stew might be fun to try. I've only had rabbit when I was no older than Bea, and I was tricked into eating it by my dad. My family nickname is Rabbit (short for Br'er Rabbit.) Eating rabbit seemed wrong at the time, but I'll try it again, why not. I know I can get some at Lukasik Game Farm in South Hadley. And it's been years since I had chitterlings ("chitlins"). I'll bet there are some wacky sushi items others might want to try. Where to go next?

Other items on the menu:
Kim Chee
Canned Quail Eggs
Grilled Ground Beef and Tofu
Canned Octopus
Smoked Oysters
Goose Liver Pate
Crock Pot Curry
Something Really Delicious That Emily Brought, but I Can't Remember What it Was
Burned Shrimp Chips (oops!)
Mead, Wine, Beer, Soy Drink

Photographic Evidence


Emily Care said...

Pictures are fine by me!

What I brought: shrimp/asparagus/cashew quinoa w/sun dried tomatoes and lemon tart. Both cooked by my friend Jenny, and gourmet quality.

Thanks for letting us experience that together, Julia! The legs on the little buggers were actually kinda good.

Parthenia said...

Oh yeah! I could have eaten lemon tart all evening, it was so delicious, and Chris finished off the other dish after everyone left. Yum!

joshua said...

Damn, that lemon tart was good.

The water bugs were full of good flavor, but they were unbearably salty. Like, if you were to make soup, you'd use one or two. Eating something that salty by itself is a totally crazy idea to me. The flavors themselves were good; the volume was just up too high. Also, they're seriously like 2% edible. The rest of the exoskeleton is like trying to eat cardboard.

Unfortunately, there were too many beverages. I think I drank all but the beer, but they didn't really go together.

Damn, that lemon tart was good.

We had a great time. Again! Again!

(Oh, and it's "Carrie")

Parthenia said...

I agree with the "Again! Again!" sentiment. But what next? I think we should go a little higher in the food chain. I really wish I liked the bugs more, because the presentation was beautiful. I just read that dragonflies are more palatable and taste a little like shrimp. I've already tried escargot (and liked it!), but that could be fun, too. There is a wonderful selection of vertebrates out there that are just begging to be tasted.

Chris--I mean "Primo"--and I know a couple-unit named Josh and Keri, who used to live in the area. They are now divorced, but when they lived around here, we used to hike and play together. They live in the San Francisco area now. Keri went to Hampshire. I can't remember when she started. I think she graduated in '94 or '95.

joshua said...

We broke up their marriage because there can be only one. Or, two. Well, similar. Ones.


I love escargot and I want to know where to get them.

Parthenia said...

I think you can get it a Whole Foods. It's not hard to find.

Carrie said...

Darn it, I missed the lemon tart. That was some serious fun and some definite tasty. What a great evening.

While I have disovered I do not like water bugs, it is for none of the reasons I expected. When I put it in my mouth something in my head just said "Dubious lemony. Do Not Eat."

It is in a very short list of foods I don't like. I think the population of the list now numbers two.

I would be all for repeating the pot luck experience!

Parthenia said...

Something in my head just said "Bug guts. Stop!" It would have been interesting to see if any of the children would have liked it. I was hoping Ingrid would try one. She doesn't have the sociological block against eating bugs yet.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.