The Flavor of a Cockroach

I didn’t do it on purpose. I’ll begin with that. I have nothing against eating insects, but it’s not something I want to do unless I have to at some point. If you eat them, great. I have friends who enjoy them. So happy for them, but not here to discuss that. I just want to tell a story about a Saturday morning in South Asia a few years ago.

I can make delicious pancakes. Sorry if someone thinks there should be more humility in that statement, but it’s true. When I had to substitute ingredients during shortages in South Asia or when I’ve become distracted, of course I’ve made gross pancakes. When I find good instead of perfect ingredients, I can make good pancakes. But with the exact ingredients I want combined with a slow Saturday morning…they are delicious. I will have to re-learn the process next time we move because the availability of certain ingredients will be different.

(I’m not going to share my recipe because it’s fun to have that secret. It’s also kind of difficult to share because occasionally it changes depending on where in the world we live. Someday if you’re at my house and I decide that I like you, I’ll make the delicious ones- if I can find the perfect ingredients- otherwise it’ll have to be the good ones.)

In South Asia, Saturday Morning Pancakes were a tradition for our family. We looked forward to this time together in our pajamas. Afterward we’d walk a little over a mile to our favorite coffee shop for drinks- coffee (Daniel), tea (me), and hot chocolate (our daughter).

Sometimes there were roaches in our ground floor flat, but one year it was particularly bothersome. They were huge. They were always in the kitchen. When asked what would be most helpful in a care packages during those years I usually said, “Cockroach hotels please!” And I was so thankful for friends who obliged because it drastically reduced the roach population when I hid hotels all over the kitchen. The annoyances of cockroaches seem to be one of those things every country has in common.

I had just mixed a beautiful, fluffy bowl of pancake batter when I needed something from the refrigerator. Normally I would have covered the bowl even if I only needed to turn my back for seconds, but a few days earlier a package filled with cockroach hotels had arrived. The number had decreased drastically during the week and I wasn’t being as vigilant as normal. I didn’t cover the bowl.

When I returned, everything still looked good so I grabbed my 1/4 measuring cup to begin putting batter on the hot griddle. I really should have stirred it one more time or something just to check, but hindsight- right?

My sweet family gathered at our round table. The sunny yellow flowers in the center completed the feeling of spring, as did the open window and light breeze cooling our hair and skin. Homemade maple syrup, creamy butter, perfectly ripened berries from the local farmer’s market, two slices of bacon for each of us, juice from oranges I had just sliced…and delicious, fluffy pancakes. The combined bacon, maple, and orange aroma should be made into a candle labeled “Breakfast Love” or something like that.

“Yay Mommy!” Eva clapped her little hands, already enjoying everything.

Lightly tracing his index finger across my cheek, Daniel said, ” Chrissy these are incredible. Did you use the _______?” (can’t share the ingredient)

I loved making food they enjoyed. Still do. These mornings were a highlight of my week.

I hadn’t had dinner the evening before so I was ready for breakfast. Fluffy goodness melting in my mouth was the expectation.

Instead I heard, and felt, a dull crunch.

Some of it had already gone down.

What was left- the thing now on my plate- was a headless cockroach.

All three of us stared at it.

I know people who have eaten bugs on a dare. They were somehow able to mentally prepare themselves and everything went well. I might be able to do something like that (with proper motivation), but this was a surprise. So it did not go well.

My pancake wasn’t perfect. Or delicious.

Finishing my orange juice fast, I decided the best course of action was to brush my teeth and gargle Listerine. Several times. I was able to suppress the gag reflex with a few deep breaths and some self talk that included things like “It’s ok… It’s not like it’s poison… some people eat them on purpose…no big deal”

I definitely had a story to tell at Sunday fellowship. It was a light hearted way to share a blow to my pancake making ego- especially since it involved the recipe I had perfected over a few years. Everyone knew making these pancakes on Saturday was my thing. We all laughed together. Some friends even had similar incidents. Stories like this were common actually. Our fellowship could hear and relay such information with little to no reaction if we wanted. But this was a story to be enjoyed- though everyone was hoping not literally.

I liked all of these people so not only had I made pancakes for them, but I always tried to make the delicious ones.

If I ever make them for you and we’re in a place with lots of cockroaches, remind me to cover the bowl if I have to leave the counter for a moment. But you probably won’t have to. It’s not easy to forget the flavor of a cockroach. Or the crunch.

©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved

Just for Fun look at:

Eating Bugs: Bug Recipes and Insect Recipes from Chefs |

(I’m not suggesting that anyone eat bugs. So don’t. I don’t want to be responsible for someone getting sick) 🙂

5 thoughts on “The Flavor of a Cockroach

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