Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spiders and Asparagus

As a parent, I learned early on that consistency was not on the menu (from them or from me, but that's a separate blog post).

During the toddler years, I marveled at how while peas were on the yuck list, sippy cups swished around in toilet water were totally, A-ok, fine.

Now that my children have reached, what I believed when they were two, would be the ever-so-rational ages of eight and eleven, you'd think their likes and dislikes would have some rational basis in human experience and western civilization.

You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.

When we decided to stop and try the spiders being offered at a small roadside stand in rural Cambodia (sort of redundant, I know) I assumed we'd take pictures of them en masse, watch them being prepared and buy a few.

The buying, I assumed, wouldn't happen out of any desire to eat the spiders, but more because the people who are selling them are extremely poor and my family can amply afford thirty-five cents worth of spiders that we don't plan to eat. Heck, we could even afford two helpings.

My husband had a whole different take on  spider tasting.

He inspected the live spiders (according to Child #2 they're tarantulas, but we don't know for sure because when we asked everyone just agreed with us). While I was snapping pictures of the market, playing with two local children, a praying mantis and my own kids, I turned around to find him nibbling on spider legs.

The next thing I knew both children were following suit. "Yum, it tastes like crunchy barbeque, Mom," said Child #1. "You should try them."

 Given the toilet water years, their adventurous palates shouldn't have surprised me, but they did.

We're now home to a place where spiders are smaller, uncooked and usually unwelcome surprises found in the shower. The other night I made asparagus grilled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt.

"That is disgusting!" announced Child #1 as I was parceling it out onto plates. "You don't expect me to eat that, right?"

I could have mentioned the spiders or the toilet water or the strange baking soda heavy creations she and her best friend make and call cookies, but I didn't.

Instead I just told myself that I was off by about ten years. Maybe they'll be rational when they're in the twenties or thirties. Or maybe I just need to expect irrational behavior will be on the menu for years to come.

And the other thing that's on the menu....spiders. At least now I know my kids won't starve to death in the event of an apocalyptic food shortage.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Asparagus is disgusting, mom.
But so are spiders, so no thanks.
Maybe you need to start preparing food that looks like spiders?

Connie J Jasperson said...

LOL! What a fun trip you had! And just so you know, they never become completely rational.

jaybird said...

Oh my gosh!! I have massive arachnophobia and these pictures WILL give me serious nightmares tonight.

The most adventurous thing my kids and I ever tasted (as far as bugs go) were praline encrusted crickets at the Maryland Science Center. But I count myself particularly lucky since all three of my kids absolutely love asparagus, brussel sprouts and kale. Green things most kids would shy away from.

ilima said...

Wow, that's too funny. Also gross. My second child's favorite food is asparagus. He'll beg me at the store to buy it for him and we get strange looks from people, lol.

Alison DeLuca said...

OH!!!! MY!!!!!

My kid is one seriously timid eater. I'd be very interested to see if she would chow down on spider legs.

Joanne Noragon said...

What, you served asparagus and didn't call it grilled spider legs! My grandkids have no serious objections to any food, although the youngest eats the item she dislikes first. Good thinking.

Hart Johnson said...

*giggles* Oh, too funny. If I didn't know for a fact my daughter at ants at camp (a survival thing) I would have thought she'd be skittish on the bugs, too, but no... and yeah... both kids afraid of mushrooms.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Kids eat the darndest things! Did you join them in their spider snack?

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I'm not going to lie, those pictures made me cringe a little. Good job to your family for being adventurous, but spider-eating is not in my future!

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, good idea. I have the perfect deviled egg recipe.

Connie, well I'm not, so I probably shouldn't expect it of them either.

Jaybird....I'm sorry!!

Ilima, my kids love cucumbers and we get the same funny looks at the store.

Allie, I bet she would :)

Joanne, I have one picky eater and one who eats everything.

Hart, they had beetles on offer too, but none of us could stomach that idea.

Diane, but of course!

Rachel, LOL. I'm guessing most people had the same reaction.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Haha, that's funny. I don't think my kids would eat the spiders. But they have the same reaction to asparagus. I keep trying though, hoping they'll change.

Unknown said...

Logic has room in a child's mind only to contradict what his parents say is right or wrong. But spiders . . . um, I kind of wish I'd skipped your post today. ;) I think you should try asparagus with Nutella, but don't be surprised if that gets an even bigger yuck-reaction.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Um, no, I have no great desire to test out how a spider tastes. While I'm one of those adventurous eaters that will try something once, insects haven't been on my list of accomplishments, lol!

My son will eat stir-fried asparagus (he also will eat broccoli and green beans that way)he's not one to eat it with butter or hollandaise sauce. I love veggies and he hates most of them. I learned long ago to serve a variety of fruits with meals. He loves fruit. Won't eat mushrooms unless they are in the stir-fry with the asparagus, onions, shrimp, and scallops. Go figure.

Btw, I'm still waiting for the rational, lol!

Kathleen Barker said...

Great post. Kids never cease to amaze us. My 2 and 8 year old grands nosh out on sushi which, while not as terrifying as spiders, is still adventurous eating for their age in my book. It took me years to tackle even a California Roll!

The Bookworm said...

wow Johanna! You've got brave kiddies! Good for them for trying the spiders. Personally I think I would faint if I tried to eat a spider or if I saw my kids nibbling on

Nicki Elson said...

Um, maybe it was a case of "When in Cambodia..."?

Unknown said...

This is hilarious. And I can guarantee no matter what other kids are doing, mine would refuse to eat spiders. Okay, my 10 year old would try it. But he ate flies as a toddler, so nothing surprises me when it comes to him.

Shell Flower said...

Wow, that is so awesome that you fed your kids spiders. I'm guessing that if you would've told them the asparagus was fried tropical snake or something, they would've dug right in. My son was a seaweed addict when he was younger. I had to hide the nori and dulse because he would eat the whole package if he found it.

Chuck said...

Asparagus in olive oil, butter, and garlic...sautéed...bring it on!!

Spider legs, not so much.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I would never have let the moment pass. "You ate spiders, but won't eat asparagus?!"

For the record, I don't think anything could have made me eat the spiders.

A Beer for the Shower said...

This is hilarious, and I can definitely appreciate the irony.

Of all the weird things I've eaten, I've never eaten spider. Not to say I wouldn't, though. I love adventurous eating.

Unknown said...

I often hope that my eternally picky toddler (who is often out-eaten by the ten-month-old) will one day manage to choke down something a little more adventurous than peas and cucumbers. But hopefully the adventure part will stop right before spiders. I don't think I could ever stomach spiders!

Annalisa Crawford said...

No no no no no! Spiders should run around and scare people, not be eaten! Well done to your kids for trying something new though... I think.

Gina Gao said...

Asparagus just disgust me. Spiders terrify me.

Stephen Tremp said...

You could serve the spiders at Halloween. Friends would think they are chocolate or something sweet but in reality are spiders. Your kids could eat a few to get the trust of everyone else at your Halloween party.

Just imaging all the fun when your guests munch into a real spider. Now that's a trick or treat they will never forget!