October 03, 2005

Steve, Don't Eat It! - Silkworm Pupas

Imagine a cute little silkworm all snug in his cocoon. Perhaps his name is Arthur.

He rubs his tiny hands together and thinks, "Finally. Tomorrow I get my wings!" Arthur drifts off to sleep with dreams of floating across a summer breeze... until he's unceremoniously slapped in a can, now destined to float through the intestines of a dumbass named Steve. (Cue: comical trombone.)

And so begins Steve, Don't Eat It - Vol. 9.

Someone recently told me they don't eat peanut butter because the FDA permits it to legally contain a certain amount of insect parts. This person might not want to buy a can of Silkworm Pupas. The amount of bugs in here is downright wacky.

The writing on the can is all in Korean. It just so happens that I have a Korean aunt who was happy to provide a translation.

The big red letters say "Bun Dae Ki" or "Silkworm Snacks." Apparently "Snacks" is a very powerful word. It's all you need to transform any putrid item into a fun new treat. The next time you see some kid go two knuckles deep in his nose and then consume the treasures within, don't be grossed out. He's just enjoying some Booger Snacks!

I won't bore you with every word on the can, but I'll hit the highlights...

Any words in an oval demand attention. The yellow oval on this can says "High Protein - Great side dish when drinking alcohol." I imagine this came from the silkworm marketing team when faced with the nagging question "Who the fuck's gonna eat this?!" The answer: DRUNKS!

On the back of the can is a list of bullet points. One of them is: "Warning! Some people may be allergic to silkworms, and get blotches or break out from eating the contents of this can." Luckily I can't read Korean, so I'm good.

Sadly there is no "Serving Size" listed-- ruining my hopes that the serving size might be zero.

Alright, I've stalled as long as I can. It's time for me to get pupified...


I found it odd that the pull-tab was actually on the bottom of the can, until I realized this is just a time-saver for people who'd rather open it right over the garbage.

Below is a "beauty shot" of just one of the 106 pupae found in the can. Mmmm. Is it me, or does that penny suddenly look delicious?

The silkworm pupas gave off a subtle, nutty aroma. Not strong like my nuts after a weekend with no shower, just more like their usual, end-of-the-day twang.

These little guys only cost me 79 cents. That's a mere 0.7 cents per pupa. Quite the bargain... for a can of dead, turd-like moths... in their own gravy... why God... WHY??

The pile of moist cocoons looked so sad sitting there (like so many piles of moist cocoons will) that I decided to cheer them up. Make 'em feel fancy! One doily, some frilly toothpicks and a few dry heaves later, and I'd say mission accomplished!

With pinky extended, I chose an an extra pupy one and popped it in my mouth. The silkworm pupas didn't have a strong flavor. In fact, they had the somewhat familiar flavor of bad canned peas. With just a hint of mildew. Overall, not terrible.

But what caught me off guard was the crunchy cocoon. Silk my ass. This was like chewing on tiny bones. The good news is I was immediately distracted by the unexpected squirt of briny liquid that shot out into my mouth. A little heads up would have been nice. (Am I right, ladies?)

Having gotten the tasting out of the way, I decided to conduct a miniature pupa autopsy. Armed with an X-acto blade I carefully tried to peel away the cocoon to see what I could find. What I found was, I have the knife skills of an epileptic monkey.

The cocoon just gave way to a mushy pile of moth guts. Or as I like to call them, Moth Gut Snacks!

The best I could hope for was a clean split, right down the middle. Which is ironic, because this type of cut is referred to as a "butterfly." (See, cuz it's a caterpillar... and the cocoon with the... thing... Look I didn't say it was funny, I said it was ironic. Get off my back, alright? What did I do to you?!)

That X-Acto would go so nicely across my wrists just about now.

All of this reminded me of something I had seen in one of my sons' board books. After a bit of searching I found it in the next to last page of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

At the end of the story the little guy emerges as a beautiful butterfly and the transformation is complete.

Please note the hole in the page. That was chewed there by my son. I used to think he did it because he was teething. Now I know he was just trying to eat the butterfly, and he takes after his daddy. That's my boy!

Alright, I'm gonna go get loaded. Who am I to disobey an oval?

But before I do, I've been feeling bad about our pal Arthur. Since he gave his life in the name of Steve, Don't Eat It, I thought it would be nice to give him the gift of flight after all.

Go Artie, go! Fly and be free!

(All volumes of Steve, Don't Eat It! can be found here.)

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