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maguey worms

Live caterpillars: Not my normal market purchase

The markets of Mexico provide for a veritable photographic wonderland, provided you are ballsy enough to break out your camera, blatantly take a photo of something, and run away without buying anything– all under the EXTREMELY watchful eye of the vendor of the object in question. Normally I am a bit shy when it comes to taking touristy photos in the not-so-touristy markets, but the other weekend, the spirit moved me to take not only a photo but a whole VIDEO!!  (a crappy, bad-resolution video, but a video nonetheless)

One of the most beautiful sights at the markets is the amazing, vibrantly-colored fruits and vegetables. I can identify only about half by name, but I love to peruse and silently hypothesize about their flavors and uses. The berries here are particulalry amazing– gorgeous, plump strawberries, blackberries, you name it, they’ve got it. (that said, I haven’t seen any snozzberries yet)

Anyway, we were wandering through the alleged “foodie market”, Mercado San Juan, with our **!!!first visitor from the States!!!** (my lovely former college roommate, Jen). While she stopped to negotiate a deal on some powdered mole with one vendor, I stared longingly at the piles of pretty berries behind us. As my gaze continued down the various cartons of colorful fruit, you can imagine my surprise when I saw movement.

Yes, a special carton (appreciatively set aside from the fruit) held a thin layer of maguey worms (or gusanos del maguey), a popular edible caterpillar here in Mexico. These little guys infest both Agave tequilana plants & maguey plants, and are considered a delicacy here. Apparently they are also über-nutritive: a mere 3.5 oz packs over 650 calories (just what I need in my carb-laden diet down here).

I resisted the temptation to buy a bagful to bring home for a fry-up (didn’t want to risk hearing dozens of tiny voices screaming out in pain), but I did manage to grab a quick, grainy video showing your potential next meal in action.  As they say in Mexico, buen provecho (enjoy your meal).


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