The March of the Ants…

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Good for You | Good for Our Planet

I really did not know that I was supporting the environment or providing extra protein and iron for the health of our guests when I unknowingly feed them “puds” (puds is the South African all encompassing word meaning dessert) with live ants…it really is one of those life experiences that make you cringe and laugh at…all at the same time…

Mr. P asked someone who did him a favor to stay for supper…just to set up the scene…I do enjoy being hospitable and am usually pretty good at it…I was happy to do so…totally unprepared to feed the gentleman and his 10/11 year old son on a 30 minute notice…

Grabbed some steaks out of the freezer…baked a few potatoes and made a salad…easy and perfectly acceptable…but what to serve for dessert🍼…hmmm…now I had leftover chocolate cake and “Crunchies” (Crunchies are a nonbake bar made with oats, coconut and honey)…not a bad ending…I asked if (we’ll call the son “E”) E liked chocolate…now what kid does not like chocolate…and he grinned…warming my heart…

Grabbing a bowl…I add some chocolate cake and “crunchie” and sat it down in front of “E”…he was sitting at the table diagonally across from me and I couldn’t really see what was happening…but I noticed that he wasn’t eating his chocolate cake…and just a little bit of his crunchie…hmmmđŸ€”…a question mark briefly tiptoed across my mind…but just let it keep going as I continued conversing and trying to play hostess…

Then I saw his father briefly reach across his bowl and pick something off…still didn’t register….

…And then when I brought his father dessert…all was revealed…they had been so polite that they didn’t let me know what was going on…though I tried to serve chocolate covered ants unknowingly…

I cannot even imagine what “E” told his mother about the “crazy” woman from America serving live ants with his chocolate cake…maybe that is how I got away with it…because even though I was embarrassed beyond measure…and was probably my worst dinner disaster…I will forever remember how grateful they were with the sharing of our home and meal…even receiving the warmest hug from “E” before they left…a truly memorable evening here…

I firmly believe that the ants own the land here in South Africa…the birthplace of man…and apparently that of the ant too…huge ant hills are a familiar sight…especially in the game reserves…

Out of curiosity, I searched for what countries served “ants” for food…I came across some new and interesting information that I had never really seen before…about Entomophagy, the consumption of insects as food…very nutritional and even promoted by the U.N. for the following reasons….

Adding insects to our diet resolves a lot of problems!

https://www.edibleinsects.com/entomophagy/

Making Entomophagy a trend here in the West will change the trajectory and make eating insects more popular worldwide. Doing this will reduce the demand for traditional meat and help limit the destruction it’s causing. We need to adopt insects into our diets for many reasons.
Key points are listed below.

Food Insecurity: Edible insects are available to just about anyone anywhere. They can be grown in homes, small farms, and large commercial enterprises.

Inhumane Treatment of Livestock: Insects raised for food can be grown and harvested humanely without the need for growth hormones and antibiotics.

Deforestation: Two-thirds of the deforestation taking place in the Amazon is for beef. Insects can be grown humanely just about anywhere, in rural and urban areas. You can even raise insects in old warehouses.

Pollution: Fertilizers, manure, and pesticides are major causes of land, water, and air pollution. Livestock is responsible for around 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Land & Water Resources: Two-thirds of our potable water and over a third of our arable land is used for livestock. As our population increases by 50% in the near future, finding solutions to this is imperative.

Our Health: Edible insects are a real animal protein that includes all nine essential amino acids; they’re a prebiotic fiber (nutrition for probiotics), very high in antioxidants, a perfect Omega 3:6 balance, high in B12, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, and more. Insects are also a very bio-available food source.

Just in case you are interested😂…Here is an actual recipce from https://www.bugsfeed.com/locusts_with_ants_and_wild_garlic…

Even though there are over 36 African countries that are “entomophagous…and “bugs” may be a mass produced food source in the future…I don’t think I’ll ever be a “bug” connoisseur anytime soon…or contributing much in the way of this new cuisine…but hey, that’s just my personal aversion to bugs in any shape and form …

Would you be willing to create a meal with bugs…

Sending much love…laughter and magic…no “bugs” though…

Day 223…Beets,Grape Leaves and Wine

…it was like being given a handful of vibrant colored finger paints and just “having fun”… enjoying the wild abandonment in the process of “creating” something new and different…like children enjoying play and as adults seizing the joy of the evening…

Low slanting sun-rays…our Sunday night was mellow, cool and calm…as those beginning days of autumn often are…

As most women from my generation were taught…Cooking is love made visible…and that night was the perfect time to remind Mr. P that he was at the top of my “love list”…

As background…I abhor…detest..have a strong aversion…to the beautiful red vegetable…called the beet…I have tried…numerous times (they say you can develop a taste for things)…but even the smell gags me (a little)…but in love I overrode the feeling…found several recipes and went to the kitchen…and started shredding and chopping to make the requested Borscht for Mr. P…

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ~W.C. Fields

and then the fun began…no stranger to the kitchen..Mr. P. decided to try his hand at dolmades…the rustling of the leaves on his grapevines had been whispering with continued fervency to him since the first light green of Spring…

Another food item that held no interest to me…I do have to admit that I had never tasted one before…leaves should be something to be viewed with admiration as they turn into gold and red…not cooked and eaten…but just my view…

I do so relish trying new recipes and learning about new cuisines…after-all, cooking is the highest art form…although temporal at best…not just appealing to one sense…such as a painting appealing to sight and music appealing to the sense of sound…but if done well…

cooking is such an intimate art form…a thrill for all five senses at once…marrying the perfect balance of textures…flavors…colors…and aromas…creating memories and evoking feelings…

…but I digress

The final product was not what we thought it would be…the mature grape leaves were a little tough…but with Mr. P’s own unique mixture of spices the rice was tasty…he is an Engineer after-all…

Mr. P seemed to like his Borscht..he ate it two nights in a row…the recipe used was was from a Ukrainian recipe…but then, as I always do…made it my own… simmering Pork rashers with the Ukrainian sofrito of diced onions and finely julienned carrots…a stew…slightly sweet with a balancing tang…but as always…with the secret ingredient of “Love”…

for an interesting article on Borscht…https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/let-me-count-the-ways-of-making-borscht

Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naĂŻve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love.”
Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’