Not one to decline offers of free food and beverages, my duck thought it a shame to pass up a lunchtime treat of stir-fried mopane worms with snow peas. Belonging to the same family as the Atlas moth, mopane worms are Sub-Saharan delicacies that feed largely on the mopane tree and are harvested in vast numbers as a cheap source of protein and to serve hungry football fans.
But like most things good for you, the worms are sadly overrated as culinary ingredients. This deficiency might be due to the collectors' habit of squeezing the caterpillar after harvest to extrude the contents of its gut. With a potential source of rich flavoursome compounds removed, the larva's palatability must be enhanced by drying, smoking or as this recipe suggests, drinking. Even with a dash of guacamole, my duck could discern little to distinguish the bug from "seasoned cardboard" and suspects that the worms will enjoy little extra pressure on their population, even from diners who now look to the dark continent to satisfy their dimwit appetites. In my mouth, the cuticle went crunch with the grace of knäckebröd and sadly, there was no wine to help wash down the flaying bits of chewed-up segments and pseudopods that scattered to coat the far corners of my tongue in tasteless cheek.