From the New York Times: Scorpions for Breakfast and Snails for Dinner.
In Beijing, where my family lives, I once returned home from a restaurant with a doggy bag full of deep-fried scorpions. The next morning, I poured them instead of imported raisin bran into my 11-year-old son’s cereal bowl. I wanted to freak him out. The scorpions were black and an inch long, with dagger tails.
“Scorpions!” shrieked my son, Roy. “Awesome!”
I had to stop him from chomping them all then and there, like popcorn. Then an idea struck him. “Dad, can I take them to school as a snack?”
This is what eating is like in my household. My children eat anything. My 9-year-old daughter reaches for second helpings of spinach, and when we eat out I have to stop her brother, now 13, from showing off the weird things he’ll consume by ordering goat testicles. Think of a child staging a sit-in at his suburban dinner table because there’s a fleck of dried parsley on his breaded fish finger, and you have imagined everything my children are not.
So when I read of American parents who hide spinach in brownie mix and serve it for dessert (“Your kids will never guess,” Parents magazine promised), it spurs me to offer advice to my compatriots back home. [continue]
I’d be shrieking. And not with delight. Scorpions? I don’t even like spiders although snails….
My sister and I were raised like that. We each were allowed one food we would not eat and could consum crackers and juice in its place. Any other food placed before us we were expected to eat and not comment except to say yummy, yummier, yummiest — or words to that effect. My verboten food was oysters. To this day, I will not eat oysters. Hers was liver. No liver, not even at the point of a gun.
As a result, I’ve been an omnivore in the truest sense of the word. The trait has stood me in good stead during my travels and years in residence throughout Europe and Asia, where people delight in serving you their most exotic or unusual or just plain favorite foods. All consumed with relish, many expressions of thanks, exchanges of gifts and a good time all around.
Fried grasshoppers, anyone? Very crunchy, I’ve been told.