Broccoli is our family's favorite vegetable. Steamed, raw, plain, sauced, roasted, or casseroled, everyone gobbles it up and asks for more. We easily eat it 3 times a week in some form or fashion. I buy it fresh in the produce section and choose the organic variety when it's on sale. It's a staple in our house.
It used to be a staple, that is. All of that changed when we ate a hundred million black bugs embedded in broccoli florets for dinner one night. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.
It happened back in November. I am just now able to write about it because it has taken me months to get over the disgust and shame of feeding my family insects for dinner.
In my defense, I had no idea my broccoli was infested. I bought the organic variety, washed it, quartered it, and steamed it for 10 minutes. I served plates. I called everyone for dinner. We thanked God for the food set before us. We began eating.
Everything was fine until I forked a too-big piece and bit half off. Then my eyes beheld the horror of the situation. I saw hundreds of black bugs. Everywhere. They were all dead of course, but who cares. Bugs are bugs, dead or alive, I certainly don't want to eat them. And boy, did I ever eat them. As well as JD and Beatrice and Penelope.
The worst part of this story is that we ate a lot of bugs. Our plates were almost completely empty before we discovered the infestation. "How could one not know they were eating bugs?," you may be asking yourself. Well, we never use the overhead light in the dining room. The light from that thing is bright and abrasive so I turn on the wall sconces and a buffet lamp instead. Also, I overcooked the broccoli a bit so the tiny little buds at the end were dark green. The bugs were the same size and tightly tucked into the branches under the florets, totally out of sight. In our dark dining room, those things were impossible to see.
After I bit off half of my too-big bite and saw the bugs, I went into the kitchen to investigate under the light. It was then that I saw dead bugs everywhere. In my broccoli, on my plate, in the pot I steamed it in, on the serving spoon. Everywhere. If I had a mirror, I'm sure I would have found them in my teeth too. How could I not see this earlier??? I told everyone to stop eating immediately.
I was in denial for half a second and asked JD if the sesame seed sized black things in my broccoli were bugs. He cut into his remaining portion and saw thousands of them. I turned the lights on. Bugs were covering our plates. We ate bugs. We fed our kids bugs. We didn't know how to move on from that moment, so we laughed and cried and held each other.
Months later, we are still traumatized. JD said it would have been better if we never discovered them in the first place. At least then we would still have our innocence. And could sleep at night knowing that we fed our kids bugs.
I have still not bought fresh broccoli since the incident and I'm not sure that I ever will again. I have purchased frozen broccoli that is diced into small bite sized pieces, but honestly, JD and I are so skeeved out by the fact that we ate bugs, we barely eat it. Thankfully, the girls are oblivious and still eat it with carefree abandon. Mommy's so sorry, girls.
Upon googling, I learned that tiny black bugs are pretty common with organic broccoli. Washing them out is often futile since they hunker down deep into the florets. I should feel better about feeding my family organic bugs, right? I mean, if one's going to ingest hundreds of thousands of insects they better not have any fillers or preservatives. That's always been my motto!
Anyone wanna come over for dinner?