A Matter of Taste (Part 2)

May 28, 2004

After I delivered a stunning series of strong arguments against consuming cicadas, a little voice in the back of my head said, "What if they taste good?" Normally these voices go away when I take my medication, but it’s kind of hard to argue against something when I can come up with at least one good point in its favor. Is tasting good really enough? another voice says, and to that voice I say, Shut up, I’m trying to think here.

Years ago I was with a school group in Spain and we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant where we were served fried calamari. Now this was well before calamari became a staple item in fern bars and hip pseudo-Italian restaurants, so none of us had any idea what it was. But everyone loved it. We were all shoveling handfuls of calamari into our mouths until someone got the bright idea of pulling out a Spanish dictionary. A shriek of, "Ewwwwwwww! This is squid!" cut like a buzz saw through our contented crunching. I was okay with eating squid, but for some reason nobody else around me was. The same people who’d just been asking for second and third helpings of calamari were now gulping water and calling out for ipecac. What was the matter with these people? I admit that there should be limits to the principle of "if it tastes good, eat it", but this was squid, not human ear cartilage.

When I was a kid my mother would tell me to try at least one bite of something before deciding I didn’t like it. Most kids’ mothers tell them this, and unless you suspect your mother is trying to poison you–which, admittedly, I did whenever she served brussels sprouts–it’s not a bad idea. This is especially true in the case of cicadas. A friend told me that Cherokees and other native American tribes used to eat cicadas. My first thought was, When you’re living off the land you’ll eat just about anything. Maybe there’s a reason I’ll eat microwaved macaroni and cheese, which is full of fat, cholesterol, and several chemicals that don’t occur naturally while I turn my nose up at cicadas, which have zero fat, high protein, and a satisfying crunch. Then that little voice says, Hey, eating them beats listening to them.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


There were four men in a Minneapolis hospital waiting room whose wives were in labor.

The nurse came out and announced to the first father, "Congratulations, you have twins!"

"What a coincidence," said the father. "I work for the Minneapolis Twins baseball team!"

A little while later, the nurse came out and told the second father, "You are the father of triplets."

"Wow," replied the second father. "I work for 3M Corporation!"

The nurse came out again and said to the third father, "Your wife had quadruplets!"

"WOW! What a coincidence!" said the third father. "I work for Four Seasons Hotels."

At this point, the fourth father fainted and dropped to the floor. When he came to, everyone asked him what caused him to lose consciousness.

He replied, "I work for Seven-Up!"

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