While we all know that October is famous for Halloween candy, it is also a month to celebrate strange foods in general. October 9 (1996) marks the day that a well-known American food company made the world's largest grilled cheese sandwich, weighing in at around 3,000 pounds. And October 11, 1987, produced the world's largest pizza -- 98,248 slices that fed 30,000 people.
But, lest we forget the rightfully resident creepier crawlier foods this month, October 14 is National Chocolate-Covered Bug Day. Like Calvin, the quirky little boy from the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip, the kid in all of us knows the value of the well-placed gross-out, even if you're just pretending to eat maggot porridge instead of something ordinary like soup with rice. One of the ways kids test each other on the playground, after all, is with over-the-top shockers. Remember "Great Green Gobs"? Even adults have gotten into the act - look at the things the contestants are asked to eat on all those reality shows!
For the squeamish grade-schooler, fake creepy crawlies like gummy worms and gummy slimy slugs are always available as substitutes. But for the brave of heart, extreme eater, there are candies like chocolate-covered grasshoppers and premium chocolate covered cricket bon-bons, which are, according to the description "real crickets smothered in delicious chocolate and wrapped in pretty colored foil. Crickets are cooked crisp . . . and mixed into each chocolate." Curious kids can find this party-stopper at realcooltoys.com. For those adventurous young taste buds that want to eat candy bugs but just aren't chocolate fans, there are other options like ant candies and cricket lollipops. There are also confections like mealworm lollipops, but I think you get the point.
Most kids won't be asking you to pick up a bag of edible insects at the store, but chocolate and candied bugs are an interesting way to get kids to think about the food they eat and why they find some things gross and others appetizing -- what makes Mom's broccoli supreme so boring and gobstoppers so enticing? How much is actually taste and how much is learned? And can the ability to play games with food help to transform the grosser things (like bugs or brocolli) into yummy delights? And if all this talk of candied or chocolated bugs isn't enough, October 30th is "Look in the Back of Your Refrigerator Day." Kids like Calvin are sure to be pleased.
Copyright 2002 © Laurie Taylor
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