Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Squiggly Protene


   The first time I tried these was not by choice. I had been out in the woods testing myself and after four days on absolutely nothing to eat I was beginning to feel like I was going to fail this test! All I had with me was a pocket knife and fire starting material (flint and steel) but even with that little I was usually able to feed myself. This time things just weren't going my way. Every squirrel I saw just kept right on running, not a single one would go in a tree hole where I might have a chance of catching him. Couldn't catch a single fish no matter what method I tried. I was out in the spring when there are pretty well no plants, other than a few cat tail roots an I didn't have any luck finding any of them that were eatable, even to early to find any wild onions or garlic.

   I was leaning against a tree down by the creek trying to stay out of the rain and thinking that I was going to have to pack it in and call this trip a total failure when I happened to notice a couple of really big night crawlers that the rain had forced to the surface. Not real sure if was my weird pea-brain or my empty stomach but I had one of those "I wonder?" thoughts and the next thing you know I was picking up worms. It only took a few minutes to gather a dozen or so but then I had to figure out what I was going to do with them. Cleaning a worm is pretty self explanatory even for a first time, just pinch off one end hold the other and run your thumb and finger down them. Everything inside comes out and all you have left is a little tube of flesh. I reckon that if you were hungry enough you could just pop em in your mouth and eat them raw, I wasn't, even after 4 days so my option was to cook them some how. I didn't have any kind of pot with me so a worm stew was out and it looked like I was going to end up just throwing them in the fire till they were crunchy.

   I got a little fire going (sounds so easy writing it. It took almost an hour of prowling just to find enough dry tender and wood to attempt trying to build one and another three hours of wacking that flint against the steel to get a good enough spark to start the tender. That first spark made smoke but the tender it landed it was still a little damp and no matter how hard I nursed it and gently I blew on it, it died out before i could get a flame soooo another hour of wacking until I was finally able to get the fire started.) While I was hunting for the fire wood I found a flat rock that was only about a half inch thick so my original plan changed a little. Once I had the fire going I put a rock on each side and my flat rock across the top to try making a cooking surface. It takes a lot longer and lots more wood to try cooking this way but the benefit of having something semi clean to eat instead of covered in ashes is sometimes worth it. Once the rock was hot I just plopped the worms down on top of it and let em cook. I'm really not sure I got any nutritional value from them, since it was my first time I'm sure I way over cooked them, they came out looking kind of like the rine off an over cooked piece of bacon and where about as chewy, but, they were hot and it felt like I was eating something which helped my outlook if not my stomach.

   Since that first time I have had worms in a lot of different ways, some pretty good and some that were pretty good only if you were REALLY hungry. If you ever get the desire to try something a little different here is one of the "pretty good" ones. I found that I really like this one but you have to be a little better prepared if your out camping. First you need to find some eggs. I had found a couple of duck eggs the first time I tried it but if your at home two chicken eggs work just fine. Next are the worms. Night crawlers are the best, you can use them little red worms but it takes a whole lot of them and they are a pain to clean. Clean your worms just like I said earlier, pinch off one end and run your fingers down the length squeezing out all the guts. Wash them in cold water, pat them dry and roll them in a little corn meal, put a teaspoon of oil in a pan and get it nice and hot, sauté the worms with a little salt and pepper till they are no longer pink and set aside. . After that just make a regular omelet. You can add onions (wild green onions are the best), bell peppers, diced (diced cat tail roots will work) and mushrooms (I prefer chanterelles). One thing to remember, for a two egg omelet you will need to use about two dozen good sized worms. Add the worms at the same time you put in the eggs, they will be cooked through but not crunchy by the time the eggs are done.

   The only difference (to me) between this and a Denver omelet is the thought of eating worms. Trust me, if you can get beyond that point you'll enjoy it!