The Ants in France
As I’ve stated many times before, I am not a domestic goddess. At times, my apartment could be condemned as a biohazard and it’s only because I have a lot of clothing that I am not naked more often. Fortunately, there’s one thing I can do really well that saves me from being a complete write-off as a homemaker. I make a mean breakfast. Seriously; on some days, my bacon could win awards.
On Sunday, I was showing off my skill for the Boy. I shooed him from the kitchen (a master should not be disturbed) and was cheerfully dodging dirty pots and pans as I created our morning feast. When the cinnamon French toast was done and the bacon was crisp, I summoned him back, and gave him the one bit of bad news I had.
I hadn’t refrigerated the real maple syrup and it developed a suspicious crust. He’d have to make due with the fake kind. But hey, I’d made a delicious breakfast and he’d just have to deal. I was still expecting compliments.
We went into the living room, and dug in. Like a good boy, he made appreciative “nom nom nom” noises as he quickly polished off the first piece of French toast.
And then. . .
“Oh look, you gave me a little seasoning,” he said, having unearthed the shriveled body of an ant from beneath French toast slice number two of three.
“Ew! Sorry baby,” I replied, and we laughed it off.
Until he found another.
All in all, we scraped 14 dead ants off his plate.
That’s when I began to look distrustfully at my own food. That’s also when I noticed that what I previously thought was just a little piece of burnt bacon was actually a shriveled dead ant friend of my own.
And then I found another.
Worse, I found ant *parts*. “That’s an abdomen,” he told me, gesturing toward my bacon. Oh god, where was the head?
It was horrifying. Humiliating. It was also fascinating. How in the hell. . . ?
“It’s the syrup!” I realized. “They’re in the syrup!”
“Nah,” he said. “How would that even happen?” But he was already up and investigating. Sure enough, at the bottom of the syrup bottle were a bazillion more dead ants. They had sacrificed themselves, lemming-style, into the bosom of Aunt Jemima.
Apparently, one side effect of being a non-domestic goddess is that the syrup isn’t always immediately put away, like, say, last time (I hope it was just last time!). It also means that maybe I don’t close lids as fastidiously as I should.
He probably should have taken his chances with the crusty real stuff.
I consoled myself by searching for “eating bugs” on the Internet. I learned that eating insects is common in many other places in the world. Crickets are even fondly described as having a slightly “nutty” flavor. Edible insects, such as cicadas and, yes, even ants, are lauded for being high in protein and even better for the environment than traditional livestock. In New Orleans, the Audubon Society’s Insectarium has a restaurant called “Bug Appétit” where everything from salads to desserts has “bug” listed as a main ingredient. Surely, I reassured myself, this will catch on throughout the States in no time.
Really, I’m a gastronomic visionary.
And yet, without knowing any of this, it speaks volumes to me that The Boy simply brushed the ant corpses and stray thoraxes aside and finished his lovingly prepared French toast and bacon without (much) further complaint.
Obviously, this shows how much he likes me.
Or how hungry he was.
….Either way, I’ll take it.