When we lived in Wichita Falls, my brother was a tiny young mite of a boy with a Gerber Baby face and a penchant for discovery. His curiosity was insatiable, guiding his hands to do things like smashig new piggy banks in the driveway. What better way for a toddler to say "Thank you!" than to let it fall to bits, watching to see what the fabulous thing is made of? Perhaps simply saying "Thanks" might be, but it certainly wasn't for Tim. He refused to believe that what he saw was all there was to get.
And that is what led me to stare at him from the grass in the back yard, as if time had slowed to an eternal few seconds, as he raised a hand to his mouth one afternoon when he was almost two. He had managed to catch a cricket, pinching it between his fingers and contemplating it for awhile. A slow-motion "Nooo" never even left my lips, most likely because I secretly wanted to gauge his inevitable reaction. I watched as he pushed the cricket through his lips, and then bit down, crunching it's black body clean in half.
Perhaps it wasn't his first experience in entomophagy; he was just curious enough to have done the same with other unsuspecting back yard bugs. What I do know is that it wasn't his last, because Patricio and I made sure it wouldn't be while he was here. We took him to try pulque at El Tinacal, perhaps the oldest existing pulquería in Tlalnepantla, lining up tall glasses of its thickness, the kind made sweeter, called curados, with the flavors of the day: pecan, piñon, mango, guava, pineapple, coconut, tomato and strawberry. And then we ordered more to work our jaws around than simple cucumber and carrots with chile and lime. Escamoles were no longer in season, and chapulines didn't make the menu of specialties. But the waiter offered to bring out fried white maguey worms, and that's exactly what we had him do.
Rolling their mostly-hollow bodies into tacos with seasoned corn, salsa and nopales, we ate every last stub-footed one of them: one doesn't have to be two to let curiosity lead to chewing on an insect. Or two.