Two facts which may be inter-related: I have a cast-iron stomach. I have a tendency to experience my world through taste.
Evidence supporting Fact #1: Not counting years beyond my conscious recall (say, prior to primary school), I have suffered less than ten episodes of vomiting nausea. This figure includes those episodes unfortunately induced by excessive alcohol consumption (hello, Gloucester Rd tube). A gastro bug for me involves lots of time sitting in a small room wishing in vain that I could empty my stomach upwards rather than downwards.
Evidence supporting Fact #2: I see weird stuff, I want to taste it. Think beached jellyfish, orange wood fungus, strange white clusters of bubbles on eucalypt leaves, random berries on random shrubs, seaweeds, witchetty grubs. My experience of nature is incomplete if I can only see, hear, smell and touch it.
That wise monkey with his hands over his mouth? He’s not speaking no evil, he’s snarfing a possible bush-food.
So when I realised, while cooking a late dinner, that the pasta had been joined in the boiling water by a small collection of minuscule baby cockroaches, I wasn’t going to tell you.
Scoop them out, most certainly. This took a few minutes, and my arm was nicely steamed. But I was reasonably confident I had them all out. No mysterious speckling in the capellini.
I thought about all the fine meals you have cooked me, and wondered if you had ever faced a similar dilemma. Slightly delirious with hunger, boiling up the last of the long pasta… Surely the essence of baby cockroach would be an imperceptible, proteinaceous addition to the bolognese?
I sighed. Your distinct lack of enthusiasm for sampling the flotsam and jetsam of our nature walks did not bode well for your appreciation of the essence of baby cockroach. And if I kept it from you, well, that would be a dark secret, a festering sore on the gastronomic soul of our relationship.
Furthermore, if I was willing to eat (and share) baby cockroach, where would it end? If rice-grain sized cockroaches are ok, why not oat flake sized? Or those little German ones? Why not bite the head off a nice, clean, mouse-sized native Australian bush cockroach? Surely they’d taste like gumleaves?
A creepy, crawly, slippery slope.
I fessed up. I ate a cracker, and set another pot to boil. Penne bolognese would suffice.
That was the night I almost served you bugs.