Interns can get real mouthy. In our Berlin office, they stuffed one with locusts...
Ever since I moved to Berlin I’m preoccupied with nutrition questions. It seems like all I ever get to see are these girls wearing oversize men’s shirts, legs resembling forearms in black leggings poking out from underneath. At first I thought anorexia spreads like an airborne infection in this district and I was praying for one of them to cough some of these germs my way. That didn’t work though. Then I started believing that they simply refused to eat because they were freaked out about getting food caught in their bangs. Finally I realized that half of our editorial staff never seems to eat either. All they do is smoke and photosynthesize.
It took me a while to realize the true reason for all of this: the choices at lunch time. About two weeks in and the smell of falafel makes you dry-heave. Same goes for reading the label vegan or the omnipresent smoothies and health shakes. Luckily, Braidy Snack saved me from becoming bulimic. In this cute little store you’ll find yummy nuts, fair trade candy bars, dried scorpions, BBQ-flavored locusts, and crunchy flour worms ... The owner kindly set me up with a couple bags full of insects and with the help of the choices around the office I created this six course meal. It would make any gourmet chef look like a diletantte without any imagination whatsoever.
FRUIT SKIN-WRAPS STUFFED WITH CURRY
The amuse bouche. Fruit skin resembles dried fruit, only in this case they squish the fruit to pulp and then spread it on boards for drying. Even though the name made me think this would taste like rubber soles, it turned out to be quite tasty and I really wanted to fix some wraps with this stuff. The lady in the smoothie place refused to puree the curry-bratwurst I had in mind for the stuffing. So I decided to do it myself and spread the mash on one of these promo LPs flying around the office and then dry it on our radiator. After three days I went to add some schawarma bits only to find that the mash had disappeared or been eaten. Maybe they do eat in here when I’m not watching?
AFRICAN JERKY SERVED WITH AFRICAN JERKY
If you hit the tanning booth more than once a week chances are your insides look kind of like this. Probably tastes better though. You can’t really tell from the picture, but these are two different kinds. The darker strips taste more like the meat stripped off a cat’s bones, left on the radiator for a day, and spiced up with a pinch of salt. Raw. The taste is almost still alive, and you can kind of still hear it meowing when you pet it... I brought a pack of this for my editor because she likes her steak very rare. She claims she’s been sick ever since.
LOCUST FROZEN YOGURT TOPPED WITH HOT CHERRIES
I decided to be a wild child and put this on the third spot of my menu. I’ve always enjoyed eating my dessert first and opening the 24th door of my advent calender on the 13th of December. The revolution starts in the details. In this case that means the locusts. Braidy offers three flavors of locusts: green curry, BBQ, and soy sauce. Nothing matched with cherries particularly well, but then again, I’m not really sure if anything does.
CRISP SALAD WITH MUSHROOMS, CHICKEN BREAST, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, AND LOCUSTS
I decided to go to a restaurant for this. If I had been looking for something to go with snake eggs I would have probably opted for the the mozarella, but sun-dried tomatoes are a good match for locusts, no? You have to be quick when it comes to wolfing this down. What starts out being crispy turns into a gooey something pretty quickly. (Think about what happens when you step on even a modest bug.) The best part is biting off their wee little legs, then their heads, and listening to the crispy sound between your teeth. Kind of like potato chips. When the waitress came around to take away my plate I told her I wanted a new salad because this one had bugs in it. She gave me a long stare and walked away.
Finally, my main course: ebony colored, dried scorpion. Unfortunately, they were out of potato pizza in the Italian place next to the office, so I went for the kind with spinach and gorgonzola instead.
Don’t worry, they cut off the poisonous tail. But even if they didn’t, cooking neutralizes the poison anyway. When you take a bite off the tail you hear a delicate crack. The outer layer is pretty tangy, with a note of lobster and wasabi. Yuuuuum!
BAMBOO-WORM MUFFIN WITH A MERINGUE TOP
This is the actual dessert: pretty, yellowish worms—you can almost still see them squealing. The slightly floury taste is a bit irritating with the first bite, but once you get past this, they literally melt on your tongue like... worms. Pretty insecty. This was my favorite treat of them all, until I googled them:
After seeing this I could no longer enjoy my creation: a cupcake with white sugar frosting and a couple of cute worms. Actually I couldn’t eat anything any more. So I told another intern I got it from a pastry shop and gave it to her.
Looks like she enjoyed it.