Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pula e a na!!!

It has been raining in Mahalapye for the last few days off and on and this morning I got a lovely surprise- a mophane moth outside my bedroom door!

These lovely creatures lay eggs which hatch to form the fellows below:

This caterpillar is voracious. I remember one year when we lived in Lecheng we had had fantastic rains and the mophane trees (from which these guys get their name) were in full leaf. We went away for a week or so and when we returned I remember being out on my daily walk with the dogs and thinking everything seemed so dry somehow. Then I realised suddenly that the trees were completely de-leafed! These guys were long gone but they'd stripped the trees nearly bare. I have stood quietly under a mophane tree when these fellows are around and you can hear the crunching- that's how mad they are about their food.

These worms are a source of income and food for many Batswana. They are a serious job to collect and process as they have hard, thorny bodies, but they are collected and gutted and dried. People cook them in various ways and eat them with maize porridge. People who like them like them a lot. My children and my husband will eat them one after another like a snack. In a year of good rains there are often two crops of mophane worms.

I cannot comment on their taste I'm afraid. Though quite adventurous with my eating, I've yet to dive into the world of the mophane worm.


Helen Ginger said...

I think I would probably be like you and not try them. The mophane moth is beautiful, though. Thanks for writing about them.

On another note, I plan to review The Bed Book of Short Stories tomorrow. Thank you ever so much for sending it to me.

Lauri said...

Great! I'll alert everybody to pop over! Thanks.

ChidoM said...

I watched my grandmother preparing them once. She had just gotten them out of the tree and they were still wriggling round. She picked them one by one and squeezed their insides out. That was the end of my short culinary journey with mopane worms. I can't touch them now, but the rest of my family loves them.

Thank you for reminding me about the sounds of home. The sound of those busy eaters is quite something isn't it.

Anonymous said...

They remind me a bit of our witchety grubs. I haven't tried those either but apparently they taste like honey. Too gross for me. I think I'll stick to things like crackers for snacks.