Friday, October 19, 2007
In March, I went to visit Maurice, the parish cook, at his family’s home, in the nearby village of Shitoli. While I was there I had the chance to try a Kenyan delicacy: live termites. As Maurice took me on the path from his family’s compound, we came along a group of children sitting in a circle out in the field. They were drumming with sticks on small flat stones as they sat on the ground. At first, I thought they were playing music, but I was wrong. Maurice explained that the children were drumming on stones over holes in the soil to make the termites come out. The termites, who live under ground, think that the drumming is the sound of rain drops falling on the stones. When they come to the surface for water they’re caught and eaten or collected to sell in the market.
What they call termites in Kenya aren’t the same wood-eating insects that we have back in the States. The termites in Kenya are about the size of ants and have two sets of long rounded wings. They can be found almost everywhere and sometimes I can find one or two of them flying around in my bedroom at night or even on my front doorstep in the early morning.
Termites are usually eaten in two ways, live or fried. While fried termites with ugali and greens sounds better to me, some Kenyans say that they are sweeter when eaten “fresh,” meaning live. And so I, wanting to get the most out of my Kenyan experience, ate two of them live.
I have to say that there really wasn’t much taste to them. They were very dry and bland and so small that I could hardly taste anything before swallowing. Why anyone would eat termites is beyond me?!?
Posted by tim at 11:17 PM