Oh. My. God. I just served a locust with our roast chicken.
Those of you who are regular readers will know that nature and me are not on the best of terms. There have been camel spiders, queen cockroaches, and giant moths in abundance, all of it unwanted and all of it leaving me emotionally the worse for wear. But right up there on the list of ‘lasting memories of living in Dubai that I would rather not have’, has to be tonight, finding a chuffing cooked locust in my dinner.
Let’s dial back a bit. The supermarket have been stocking kale of late, which may sound like a normal everyday occurrence to those living back in the west, but to us out in the desert, a green vegetable that isn’t broccoli or cabbage has been a long time coming. So when I saw it on the shelf this morning, I decided a bunch of kale would make the perfect accompaniment to our Sunday roast.
I grabbed the best looking of the bunch, popped it in a bag, and there it remained until this evening when I took it out of the fridge to chop up for dinner. Lazy cow that I am, I figured the boiling water would probably wash the leaves better than chucking it under the cold tap ever could, so I took the bunch, sliced it off the stems (and possibly a leg or two), gathered it up in my BARE HANDS and threw it in the pot.
Ten minutes later (and a quick taste test to make sure it was cooked…oh I’m so glad I did that) and voila! Beautiful green kale. I carved the chicken, placed the roast potatoes, stuffing and carrots on the plates, and proceeded to serve up the kale. Reaching the bottom of the pan, what do you know, but gathered on my fork next to the last of the leaves was a three inch long locust, boiled and perfectly preserved, ready and waiting to garnish the meal.
A locust. A friggin’ LOCUST. As my husband commented, lucky he was there to witness it this time or he’d never have believed the size of it, or indeed, that it was there at all. Needless to say dinner was a slightly less pleasurable experience than I had planned, as I gagged on my carrots and stared at the green veg portion-sized gap on my plate, imagining what might have been had the revolting creature not sunk to the bottom of the pan and instead been dished out onto a plate. It was one of the most horrific moments of my culinary life, as I retraced my steps and visualised over and over again, the awful moment when we nearly had biblical plague pest for dinner.
I’d like to point out to anyone that I’ve entertained at home in the past present or future, that I usually wash my food. It was a mere moment of madness that made me skip the process this time around, call it karma if you will that it just happened to be the time a giant insect was nested inside to reveal my slack housewifery. My mother will be delighted to hear I will be washing my vegetables meticulously from now on. And I will not be buying kale again this side of repatriation. I bet I put a fair few of you off it too.