By Barbara Carr
It was a beautiful Halloween afternoon, and what could be better than a picnic in the park? That was how it was proposed to me: my first B.A.B.E.S. event - no pressure to taste, just come along to observe, costumes, sunshine, plenty of bug-less snacks...
Dolores Park was overflowing with potential B.A.B.E.S.members - so much so that families had staked out all of the picnic tables in the main area (hope you weren't looking for us there!). We set up and posted the "Free BBBQ" (the extra "B" stands for "BUG") sign at the tables under a tree on the hillside, overlooking the Japanese drumming event that was also going on. We started out as a cozy group, but the aroma of barbecuing meal worms ( and a large sign promising B.A.B.E.S.!) soon drew much interest from passersby. Strangely, vegetarians seemed to be heavily represented among the attendees - which meant, of course, more bugs for everyone else!
BBBQ Grill at Delores Park
Novice Bug Eaters
Due to a bit of miscommunication, the only insect-variety of food was the meal worms, but there were plenty; please be assured, however, that crickets will also be featured on the next B.A.B.E.S. menu. The meal worms were grilled, with a lovely Vietnamese hot sauce on the side (you know, the one with the chicken on the bottle - don't accept the imitations.) Dessert was, of course, gummi worms and sour worms. Also on the menu was a beautiful lung - from a cow, we believe, not from a bug. Although the general consensus among (possibly biased) B.A.B.E.S. members was that the meal worms were much tastier, the lung drew the most interest and curiosity, from B.A.B.E.S. members as well as from human and canine guests. I've since learned that lung is a delicacy in the Philippines, but must first be soaked for several days to thoroughly clean it; the person who contributed the lung was apparently unaware of this. Several brave attendees tasted the white, shiny, spongy meat; the response tended to be "Chew, chew, chew, chew, UGHHHHH!!!!!, phhht!" followed by the morsel flying from his mouth and into the bushes. Even the dogs drawn by the aroma were intrigued, or rather, obsessed, returning over and over against their owners' will (forgive me, their "guardians'" will, under California law), but none were actually able to eat the lung. Any food refused by several dogs is a rare treat indeed.
There were several first-time bug eaters in attendance. All who tried the meal worms seemed very happy with the experience, although no one ate more than one, with the exception of the organizer, Seņor Scott, who was very spiffily costumed as an entomologist. And, despite my initial skepticism, I ate my first bug (or half, anyway); I am a now a de facto B.A.B.E.S. member and look forward with watering mouth to the next society event. Hope to see you there!
Submit Your Own Bug Story