The Uninvited Guest

Last night we were having a family dinner of squash blossom pizza and a green salad. I’d bought some squash blossoms at the farmer’s market, and, over the day or so they sat in the refrigerator, the blossoms had tightened up. So much so that, in a lazy mood, I decided not to do the usual bug check, and open up each blossom look for any little critters that might have sought refuge in the flowers.

I sprinkle the blossoms along with some mozzarella and fresh herbs on some pizza dough and bakc it up. Midway through dinner, my wife Aimee says, as only a native Californian can: “Eewh. Gross.” She’s looking at her plate. I can’t see it, obscured as it is by the salad bowl. I think: it’s a squash blossom. There’s a fly inside it. She’s eaten half the bug, its entrails quivering at the end of her fork.

She points to her plate. I move the salad bowl. I see it.

Perched on top of the salad (a mix of arugula and baby greens, that, I must state, she was in charge of cleaning and prepping) was a caterpillar of around 2 and a half inches in length. How, in its perfect camouflaged state, it caught her notice escapes me. She is a lucky woman. I know that bugs and larvae are eaten in many cultures around the world, and I do claim to be an omnivore, but I must admit a certain revulsion over the idea of biting into a slimy little cylinder of bug protein in the middle of an otherwise unslimy dinner.

The kids wanted to play with the worm. Sadly, it wasn’t moving, probably killed by the vinaigrette (but not by pesticides, as the greens were organic). Not knowing how long the caterpillar had been dead, we ditched our salads and made do with some cherry tomatoes.

We did polish off most the pizza and, admittedly, still have no clue as to what might have been inside those squash blossoms that we ate with glee.

—Hugh

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One Response to The Uninvited Guest

  1. matthew says:

    squash bottoms can be a dangerous game – you could be heading into Bourdain territory here.

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