Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Survival 101 - A New High or a New Low?

We had our survival program last night and I gotta say I'm still laughing. For those of you who are new to Teen Summer Reading at the Fredricksen, we have a reputation for doing one good gross and disgusting program every summer. Survival was this year's gross and disgusting, and I must say, we reached either a new high or a new low, depending on your perspective. Personally, I thought it was great! Josh McKinney, a lifelong outdoorsman, presented a really great, informative program on, basically, edible stuff in your own backyard. He included information about verifying what you're eating before you eat it, making sure it's legal to take it, considering the source (Has it been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, etc?), and the benefits of eating local stuff and things that are lower on the food chain. He then got out some samples of things that he harvested, primarily from his backyard, but all from the local area. We started with some crayfish, cooked, seasoned, and offered with a side of cocktail sauce. We followed with a salad based on dandelion greens, then some pine needle tea with mint and honey. These all disappeared pretty quickly, as did the venison loin. Then we moved on to the really good stuff. I didn't try them myself, but the kids said that the fried crickets had a nice nutty flavor and were particularly good with a little honey. The fried mealworms weren't too bad, I'm told, either. Up to this point I was offering an additional ticket for the weekly prize drawing for each different thing the kids were willing to try. When we got to the live mealworms (yes, I'm talking still wiggling around in the container!) we upped the incentive to 3 tickets and got a surprising number of takers. In fact, there were no leftovers (If you don't count the 3 that were "rescued" by a few kids. Get serious, they're mealworms! Something is eventually gonna eat 'em!) A few of the kids who were willing to try those actually went back for seconds and thirds! I'm still laughing at the kid who was having trouble spearing one of them on a toothpick, so I told him to just reach in there and pick it up with his fingers. He said, "Eww, no, I can't touch it!" but he ate 3 of them! If you missed it, some pics are below.

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