If this wasn't a travel blog, it would probably be a food blog. I love visiting restaurants, reviewing food and sharing my experience with others. I'm also very picky about food, so I won't say that good food is bad, or bad food is good.
That being said, I love to try new food. I don't always like it, but I love growing my culinary palate. While travelling the world I've had some strange food encounters, like raw horse (yum), ox tongue (yum), boiled eggplant (yum, unless you mistook it as a chocolate cupcake, in which case not yum) and, the one I am most known for, dogduck (very yum).
But, throughout all my travels, the one thing I've always wanted to try was bugs. By bugs I don't mean raw earthworms pulled from my parent's garden. Those are gross and have chunky dirt inside them and they don't taste very good. Instead, I mean prepared bugs. Bugs that have been fried or baked or turned into paste and put onto crackers. Think "Grasshopper and Strawberry Jam" bugs; that kind of thing.
Unfortunately, bugs aren't a common staple in North American diet. If you ask for a dish and there's a bug in it, you take it back to the kitchen.
But, what if the bug is supposed to be there?
That's what happened on my recent trip to Lethbridge's Whoop-Up Days. I was hungry, so I decide to check out some of the food trucks and I came across a truck for MeltTownGrilledCheese.com. Their main dishes were grilled cheese sandwiches and poutine. However, they decided to mix things up a bit and add a scoop of crickets to the dish.
Yes, real crickets! Like the kind you buy at the pet store!
The cricket grilled cheese sandwich was $2 more than the regular sandwich, but apparently, they were all sold out of bread when I visited. This should have been enough to deter me, but instead I inquired about the cricket poutine. It was also $2 more, so I bought it.
And everybody around me gagged.
When the poutine arrived, it looked like a normal poutine with a scoop full of brown crickets on top. You could see their arms and legs, heads, eyes and shell. I twirled my fork into the dish, picked a fry with some extra cheese and a single cricket on it and ate it.
I didn't taste anything.
I tried a few more crickets.
I tasted them this time, but they didn't taste like much. They were a bit crispy, kind of like the tips of an over-cooked French fry, and they had a little crunch to them like a small nut or some Bacon Bits. As for a direct taste, I'm not sure if the cheese and gravy masked it, but I didn't taste anything.
The only part I didn't like about crickets was their legs. Their back legs are long and tough and occasionally got caught I my teeth. For me, it was like having a small, hard piece of grass in my teeth and I had to pick it out afterwards. I felt it was no different than eating chicken wings, except they are bug legs.
But, the biggest question you're probably asking is why I ate a cricket poutine.
Well, crickets, and insects in general, are an excellent substitute for red and white meat. Per pound, crickets have three times as much protein than beef, more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk. They have all nine essential amino acids, have a perfect Omega 3:6 ratio and are high in fibre. They also have 20 times the amount of B12 than beef.
Besides being very healthy, they are also a more environmental alternative than meat. They need less food and water to grow, they take up much less space and they can be grown everywhere. Unlike chickens or cows that take up a lot of space, you could grow and raise you own crickets in your house and add them to your food. A lot of experts believe that if we switch eating meat to eating insects, we can open a lot more land for farming, reforesting and wildlife, which improves hunger, the environment and the animal kingdom.
With all that in mind, would I eat another cricket poutine? Yes, definitely. I would put crickets on my salad too. Maybe have some chocolate covered crickets. I could snack on crickets instead of cashews at Christmas and try crickets and carrot in my soup. I would love to try ants, maggots and worms too, if I could get my hands on them.
But, that's just me. What about you? Would you try a cricket poutine?
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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The past few weeks have been really busy for me, with a lot more time at the office and a lot less time travelling. Thankfully, the weekend is just around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a two day vacation. Having traveled to Lac La Ronge earlier this month, I've been thinking more and more about these short trips and how rejuvenating they can be.
Unfortunately, I haven't done as much travelling around Saskatchewan as I'd like, so I wasn't sure what the best places to visit were. There were of course the obvious choices such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but I wanted someplace remote, yet somewhat close. For this project I approached some of my fellow travel bloggers and I got some ideas of what to go do and see for a weekend. I went through their ideas and came up with this short list of 5 weekend destinations in Saskatchewan.
Thanks to TELUS' incredible network, sections of Saskatchewan that once never had coverage can now be fully explored while still being connected to your mobile device. No matter where you travel in Saskatchewan -- or even in Canada -- this summer, you can rely on TELUS' mobile network to keep you connected.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.
If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.