Friday, July 18, 2008

Surreptitious Little Protein

While we live here with Avram's parents for two months in between England and Ohio, Mom Shannon does the vast majority of the cooking. I'm spoiled living here, and although I really enjoy cooking, I also love just showing up at the dinner table and eating (and then cleaning up afterwards, because I'm not a complete schlub). So last night we all enjoyed some soup. Mom Shannon had made a Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup, which sounds weird, but is really delicious; she made it last Summer and I absolutely adored it, and as it's her favorite soup, she made it again.

So I'm sitting there, settling into my dinner, enjoying the flavor, when I notice what looks like a little white worm in my bowl. A teensy, weensy worm. I calmed myself down from my instant inner panic, took a deep breath, and kept on eating. But it was still there, and it still looked a little bit like a worm, with a dark spot at one end. And slightly ribbed.

I asked the others eating this soup, if they thought it was a worm. The general consensus was that it couldn't be a worm, that this barley had been bought this very week, and that it was most likely a piece of the barley that had come off in the cooking. And this seemed very plausible and true, because I could know make out upwards of ten to twenty of them. Just little, harmless barley bits. To show my conquering over fear and other silly imaginings, I even stuck just the "worm" in my mouth; yep, tastes fine. Definitely no worms here.

Silly Thora.

A bowl and a half later, I finished dinner and began cleaning up. But those harmless little pieces of barley that sure looked like worms to me kept on bothering me. So I picked one up still stuck in an empty bowl, and squeezed one end, and it's insides came out.

Little worm insides.

But no, it was impossible that the barley could be that worm-ridden without noticing. But I know that sometimes I flair towards the dramatic, so I went and told Avram I really thought they were worms. He looked closely at one, and lo and behold, there were legs.

Yup, I ate worms for dinner. Loads of them. And I couldn't taste the difference.

My stomach spent the rest of the night wondering whether it should hurl, or just be grateful for the extra protein. And I still feel slightly sick when I think about it.

So if you go to buy barley, watch out, it may be infested. (Although it really wasn't Mom Shannon's fault that she hadn't noticed in the cooking; they were really very surreptitious little buggies). Although, you can just come to our house and have some leftover soup, because we'd already put the leftovers away when this all came to light, and my father-in-law can't stand throwing out perfectly good food (meaning it's not rotten, not that it's not bug free), so there you go. It's in our fridge waiting for you. I certainly won't be sampling any more, even if it did taste good. (Which it did, and don't let this prejudice you against my mother-in-law's cooking, because she's a much better cook than I am. And I think I'm a good cook.)

I used to eat cherries with worms that grew in our back yard. I just tried not to think about it, or eat half a cherry, and then look at the remaining half. So I shouldn't be disgusted. But I am.

Really, it's just the end of times. After all, we're also having huge tick infestations here in Virginia as well. On the "plague" level. So don't be surprised when a fresh well breaks out underneath the Temple Mount, and runs to the Dead Sea and heals it, and the moon turns to blood, and we all walk back to Missouri (this is a whole 'nother topic...), because I'm telling you, I have the inside track. And the end is here.

Right here.

The End.


  1. Oh my gosh...I wouldn't eat something even just thinking it was something else. Oh're so...brave, I guess.

    That's kind

  2. mmm I love barley soup.

    But I'm not going to eat that particular batch when I come in August....

    Somebody should complain to the barley vendor! Baby worm soup probably won't hurt anyone, but it's just icky!

  3. Once when I was a teen-ager, there was someone I had thought ill of so I decided I needed to serve them. I made some banana bread to take them. I realized as I added the flour that I had weevil in the flour. I was tempted to throw the whole concoction out but I knew the weevil would not hurt them and because they did not know it was there, it would not impair their enjoyment of the bread either so I went ahead and gave them the protein enriched banana bread.

    Get us the recipe of the soup--minus the worms.

  4. I've had it happen more than once. Nothing says "Good morning!" quite little worms floating in your bowl of cereal.

    They do float if you catch them before they boil, so you can either scoop them out and not tell anyone or (my preference) make something different.

  5. I suppose I am fickle in my icky-ness ignoring. I don't think I could bring myself to eat that soup with the whole worms in it. However, I do make applesauce out of extremely worm-ridden apples. I will even cut up an apple, see a worm in it, and throw it in the pot because, hey, it all gets ground up and strained, so if there is anything nasty enough to be noticeable, it will come out with the peels and seeds. It's actually some of the most delicious applesauce I've ever had. My sister (who made it with me) and I joke about making lables for it that say "high-protein" or "iron-fortified" somewhere.
    But eat them while they still look like worms? yeah, I don't think I could do that.

  6. ewwwwww!! I remember being at the burtons once and she was making rice and after she put the rice in and the water was hot she got a spoon and scooped all the worms that had floated to the top. Still grosses me out to think of it. I think barley soup might make you a bit queasy for a while!