Friday, October 19, 2012

Grandpa Jim Meets an Author

     A few weeks back I received a call from a fellow who wanted to buy some live bee grubs and live bees. He turned out to be an author, David George Gordon, who had written a book about eating bugs. The book, originally published  over ten years ago, was going to be republished next summer. He wanted to update his book with some additional photos, including the recipe for "Three Bee Salad".  I was able to satisfy his request by selling him a frame of brood from my modified Warre hive. He stopped by the bee store a few days later to pick up his purchase. I found him to be a very engaging person with a showman's flair, and certainly quirky enough to make a good beekeeper. Exactly my kind of people.

    As it turns out he has written a number of other books, one of which I had actually read, "The Field Guide to the Slug". This is an invaluable book for any organic gardner in the maritime northwest. Slugs are truly the bane of my existence as a gardener, particularly during our soggy spring weather. The best way to control any garden pest is to first learn about their life cycle.  It is really important to know your enemy. There wasn't a great deal of information generally available in the local library on slugs and snails until Mr. Gordon filled that void. Since the publishing of "The Field Guide to the Slug" he has even written a sequel, entitled "The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane". That one I haven't yet read, but I'm looking forward to it. He also wrote a book entitled "The Compleat Cockroach". I think I'll pass on that one.

     The "Eat-A-Bug Cookbook" details the use of bugs as food in various cultures throughout the globe. It also has lots of recipes that allow one to incorporate common local insects into dishes that are sure to grab the attention of all the guests at that fancy dinner party. I have a bee store friend who is really taken with the wonderful flavor of raw bee grubs. He described them as tasting better than the sweetest creamed corn he ever ate. I haven't yet taken up his challenge to try them. Somehow it seems wrong to me to eat my bees. Yet, I'm not so sentimental that I can't eat a duck or a chicken.

      Before leaving, David gave me his business card.  He even offered to send me an advance copy of his revised bug cookbook.  One of the things he does for a living is to travel around the country doing lectures and demonstrating bug cooking skills. I looked at his website a few days ago and discovered that he will be doing a demonstration on Halloween at Paxton Gate, a science store in Portland.  I thought I should make sure the Portland area grandchildren were aware of this. Since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, it sounded like a great excuse for a field trip.  More information about David George Gordon, author, lecturer, bug chef, is available at
David George Gordon at the Beez Neez

My personal copy of  "The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook"

      I wrote the above portion of this post this morning.  Much to my surprise the bug chef himself dropped by the bee store this afternoon for a visit.  He returned the empty frame, having removed the comb and brood, and brought me a copy of his book as promised. I was, of course,  delighted to add another cookbook to my collection. I don't think I'll be getting many volunteer guinea pigs for these recipes. (I promise I won't be serving them on the sly to unsuspecting relatives.) He showed me the photo of "Three Bee Salad" to be included in the next printing of his book. We also discussed various possible methods for removing frozen pupae and larvae from the combs. It appears I might end up as the regular purveyor of bee brood to the bug chef. If so, I don't think I'll be changing my business cards to reflect that.


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