I’d learned in October that a Ugandan community gets a shipment of grasshoppers in December. I knew that I'd want some of them, but I didn’t want to drive all that way for nothing. Since I’d lost the business card from my first visit, it was time for some internet research to find the right number to confirm that the product was available. As usual the calls were circuitous, amusing, and ultimately successful.
I was told the price-per-bag but not the size or weight of a bag; this made the information meaningless. I wondered what the unit price, per-pound or kilo, would be. I figured that since the immigrant community was probably not very wealthy, the item would not be very expensive. Yet the product arrived only once or twice a year, and I was pretty sure that it had a lot of sentimental value as a taste of the homeland.
I arrived in the city and achieved my goal within 15 minutes. The bags were disappointingly small. I spent roughly the sum I'd planned to, but the amount of product was miniscule. I’m not sharing how much I spent, since it’s already easy for people to decide that I’m crazy. Some would say I’m making a big deal out of a modest amount of money, while others would be amazed at how much I spent. The little bags make a pleasant pile on the kitchen table.
Don’t they look like shrimp?
The important part is to find out what insects taste like, and in the bigger picture to understand how people can feed themselves within harmony with nature. I’m getting a taste of a market in Kampala. I’m increasing my stock-in-trade.
They’re called Nsenene, which I suspect is onomatopoeic in origin. Since pronunciation counts: say “NnnnnnSEH-neh-nay.” The word is spoken quickly, as though the syllables are running out of your mouth.
And there’s some other intriguing developments [which as you loyal and patient readers will know by now is nothing new.]
I’ve contacted a researcher in stinkbug propagation, and it might be possible for me to get a supply of these insects.
I’m hard at work on the reprinting of the Food Insects Newsletter. Right now I’m constructing the various indices, which is less fun than when I'd started.