Saturday, February 25, 2012

Roasted Fire Ants

Done with our light fieldwork, we walked across ploughed fields and in between rows of short corn to reach a house for our next task. Sitting on a plastic tarp in a shaded area, we watched our guide demonstrate how to weave and sew palm fronds which would be used to construct the sides of a house. A young boy wheeled a large wheelbarrow to the  driveway of the house - the same boy we had seen earlier running towards us in the field, firmly clutching a kitten. Although we didn’t see the kitten now, we hoped it was ok. With no more palm fronds to weave, we watched the cooking taking place on the floor of the stilt house. The mother was pounding fish paste with garlic and chilies, while our guide was working on the dish’s main ingredient - fire ants. He explained that the although the delicacy dish was often eaten raw after the ants were pulverized and mixed with the fish paste, he actually preferred roasting it in banana leaves first. Although grateful that the stinging ants were no longer alive, I can’t say that I really appreciated the slightly crunchy dish. Like the other volunteers, I was happy to eat the white bread sandwiches prepared for us. 

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