Lifting a forkful of cricket mushroom risotto, I eyeball (precisely the right verb) these wide-eyed, if unseeing, creatures. Years of startling at insects condition me to react with alarm, but seeing them stilled, pacific, and out of context with surprise reconditions that automatic response. I examine a cricket’s lens the way I once looked at a buckeye fallen from the tree in front of my grandparents’ farmhouse. I look long, the way I paused in midstride on a running trail to hold a doe’s gaze. I study its ridged tegmen, or modified forewings, the way I examined the back of a bookshelf after my mother taught me to discern cherry wood from mahogany.
In my mouth, the cricket breaks apart like a mushroom cap pearled with rice or an artichoke heart, a corn chip softened by salsa. But it is only akin to these things, being an experience unto itself. I fill with wonder such that I have not experienced since my tongue first encountered another. The mystery under scrutiny is part of this dish’s savor.
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Last updated: Apr 23, 2017