Yes, But Would You Eat It? “E” is for Escamol(es)

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo courtesy of

Oh look! More pupae! Yes, escamoles are the edible larvae and pupae of ants. Native to Mexico, particularly Central Mexico, escamoles were a delicacy to the ancient Aztecs. The little eggs look like kernels of corn, or the Italian pignole. They can be fried for crunch, usually in butter with onion and chile, and served in omelets or tacos. How about escamoles salsa? Just mix up some ant larvae with serrano peppers, onion, roasted garlic, salt, epazote sprigs. Your tortilla chips will be surprised!

Escamoles can cost between $35 and $100 for a kilogram (about 2.2 pounds). so apparently they’re still considered a delicacy.

Tell me, would you eat escamoles?


Yes, But Would You Eat It? “D” is for Durian

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo courtesy of

It looks pretty, doesn’t it? This Asian fruit is known more for its stench than anything else. Food writer Richard Sterling has described the smell of durian as “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away.” Enticing!

So smelly they’re actually banned on Singapore’s mass transit system, durians are nonetheless considered a “superfruit.” The durian is rich in iron, vitmain C, and potassium. A small durian contains 23 grams of dietary fiber (pretty much what you need in a day). But don’t rush out to gorge on durians. In 2010, a Malaysian politician was rushed to the hospital after he complained of breathlessness and dizziness. Seems he’d gone overboard on durians.

So, would you eat a durian?


Yes, But Would You Eat It? “B” is for Beondegi

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo courtesy of

Street food is usually a great way to sample local specialties. In this case, head to South Korea and walk around the many food stalls. Now, inhale deeply. Ooh, what’s that enticing aroma? Tangy, a little fishy. Now you stop in front of a food stall offering beondegi. Take a look inside – hey, what is that?

Beondegi isn’t fish, or nuts, or vegetable. It’s steamed or boiled silkworm pupae, and very popular in South Korea! The outer shell gives you that desired crunch, while the inside is juicy. While the usual beondegi is savory, there are some that are candied and sugary. Yum!

Beondegi first became popular during the Korean War, although it’s admittedly an acquired taste. Your street vendor will offer you beondegi in a little cup with a toothpick. loaded with protein, you can also purchase beondegi at a corner market.

So…would you eat beondegi?


Yes, But Would You Eat It? “A” is for Airag

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods. 

photo courtesy

How about some AIRAG? Sometimes spelled ‘ayrag,’ this is the Mongolian word for fermented horse milk. The Russian word for it is ‘kumys,’ but this is letter A, so airag it is!

The milk is filtered through a cloth, then it’s poured into a leather sack. These days, a plastic vat may be used. Lactic acid bacteria plus yeast produces the fermentation, and the airag is stirred often, to make sure all of the milk is fermented equally. When the fermentation process is completed, it has about 2% alcohol. The beverage is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you visit Mongolia and are offered a bowl of airag, you should at least take a sip before passing the bowl back to your host. To refuse it outright would be very impolite.

Here’s a guy trying airag:



Theme Reveal – #AtoZChallenge

Bonjour! Today is the day I’m supposed to reveal my theme for this year’s A to Z Challenge.

Today is also the day I was supposed to fly home from Switzerland, but I cut my trip short last Thursday due to travel concerns and suspensions. Anyway, I had written and scheduled this post en avance. Smart girl that I am, I’ve also written and scheduled all of the A to Z posts (years of doing this has taught me!).

If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you’ll know that I tend to post about four things: books, travel, music, and food. Previous themes in this A to Z Challenge have included Poets, Novelists, and Lyricists; Oh! The Places I’ve Been!; Smile and Say (Cheese); Listen Up! (Musical instruments); Paris Between the Wars (1919-1939); Broadway Musicals; 1968; and Bob Dylan covers. Whew!

So this is my 9th year. I usually have a few theme ideas, but I try to make sure I can cover all the letters before committing to a theme. This year’s theme is…….


Photo from

Stay tuned! Better yet, follow me with your email address and my posts will drop right into your inbox. The A to Z Challenge has posts each day in April, except Sundays.

#AtoZ Dylan – “Z” is for Robert Zimmerman

“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young


What better way to end this series than with the man himself? One of the most prolific and talented songwriters of our generation, Bob Dylan has been a major cultural icon for six decades. He has received ten Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture.” In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2016, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
When I learned of his Nobel Prize, I wanted to do an A to Z Challenge on Bob Dylan. But then he decided not to accept the prize. There was some controversy (you can read about it here if you want), but he did eventually accept the award.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these post and videos. I deliberately did not go into a lot of detail about Dylan or his songs, knowing that your time is precious, and you can always read the lyrics at your leisure. The fact that so many of Dylan’s songs have been covered, by so many diverse artists, is testament to his influence, even nearly sixty years later.
So I will conclude with a song by Bob Dylan (how to pick just one??!)


#AtoZ Dylan – “Y” is for You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” was written in 1967, during Dylan’s self-imposed exile from public appearances, after his motorcycle accident the previous summer. The first official release of the song was a live version on his album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

“You Ain’t goin’ Nowhere” has been covered by many, including The Byrds, Louson Wainwright III, and Phish, among others. Here is a live performance by Counting Crows with Hootie and the Blowfish (Hootie now known by his given name, Darius Rucker):