Americans eat butterflies?

It’s inyense season right now, which explains the little holes all over my front yard and the children scurrying everywhere with eyes peeled to the ground.

Let me back up. Inyense are big-ass crickets, about which I have surmised three things:

1. They appear to only be active for a short window of time

2. They must taste good, because the under-12 set treats them like the Holy Grail of foods, hunting them with the intensity and focus of chanterelle foragers or Black Friday shoppers

3. They look about like any typical garden-variety bug that has been magnified by five — that is to say, really creepy


Because the first thing I think when I see one of these guys staring back at me is that I want to munch on its mandibles

Yesterday morning a group of excited kids showed me how to catch and eat these crickets. First they locate a tunnel opening in the soft soil, then they dig a hole until they catch a glimpse of their prey inside its lair. Next a skinny arm with eagerly scrabbling fingers is thrust into the tunnel, rooting out the prehistoric-looking creature while trying to avoid its formidable jaws. Finally, they squeeze out the guts and roast the rest, legs and all, atop coals with a liberal sprinkling of salt.


Modrick, Mwape, and Chungu showing off their prized catches

Not to be outdone, and in a sudden burst of inspiration lapse of better judgment, I told them that people in America eat butterflies.

Okay, so I may have taken some creative liberties with that one. Not exactly my finest cultural exchange moment. Tack this on to the growing count of little white lies I’ve told my kids in the interest of entertainment (both theirs and mine — top on the list is “Matt knows karate”). But at least now they think they know why I run around in the bush waving my homemade butterfly net in the air, trying to catch colorful ichipempele.


Why yes, that is a butterfly net on top of my bike


3 thoughts on “Americans eat butterflies?

  1. ohhhhhhhh……that….I just don’t know…..Matthew those things look like props from a horror movie to me. Let me know if you actually consume one!

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