Waiter, There’s a Bug in My Arugula

The other night, I made this mac and cheese out of Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating:

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It’s a fine mac and cheese, if not the best I’ve ever had. I used aged American Cheddar, as the book’s author recommends, but the application of onions, garlic and wine didn’t really have a big payoff. The first bite was blah, though it got better as we ate it (we being Craig, myself and a visiting Diana). Knowing I was serving such a heavy, gloppy dinner I wanted to serve a little salad on the side. So I bought a carton of arugula and a lemon: I’d dress the arugula with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper–that’d be it.

Only, when I went to open the arugula a little something caught my eye. See if it catches your eye too…

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There was a very lively bug in there fluttering around. I showed the bug to Craig and Diana and we all agreed that the salad belonged to the bug, not to us. So we ate double portions of mac and cheese, gained an extra ten pounds, and vowed never to eat salad again.

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21 comments

  1. You may vow to never eat salad again when you see how much pesticide is sprayed on conventional salad greens to ensure you never find a bug in them.

    I always find a bug or a caterpillar or two in my organic lettuce mix. I find it reassuring. Pick it out, set it free and tuck in.

    What’s the worst that can happen?

  2. It just prooves it’s organic! Finding a bug is a good thing – it means no pesticides.

    Besides, it’s just a lowly stinkbug, they don’t eat much!

    Joni Mitchell -“Give me spots on the apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please”

    (Big Yellow Taxi)

  3. You wusses! What’s a little extra protein? The whole point of paying more to get organic is to see bugs and not bug spray. Just wash the leaves next time and set the little guy free.

  4. I’ll say it again: y’all need to get out of the city every once in a while! It was just a little stinkbug.

    (There’s a great mac & cheese recipe in the Best Recipe cookbook.)

  5. If it wasn’t organic that little critter would of already taken over the fridge and had its sites on the pantry.

    (I don’t buy that organic = healthy especially since no one can agree on what the word “organic” really means)

  6. It’s all good city boy. Remember where lettuce comes from. Whether you see them or not at some point bugs have been all over it. If not you have a problem. My uncle grew greens and corn, and we used to pick it all the time. I just picked the worms out, washed it, and enjoyed.

  7. If you’re that upset by bugs in your salad greens, it might also repulse you to know that your salad greens were sitting in dirt! For a really long time! In fact, your salad greens are MADE of dirt! Dirt and water.

    ;)

    I used to be much more creeped out by certain bugs (especially moths and the weird flying grasshopper things we have in Texas, when they’d fly up against me, especially my face) until I started hanging out at my CSA farm, and the woman who runs the farm has such a wonderful relationship with the insects there (picks them up and shows them to her son, treats them with kindness, doesn’t ever kill them, even the fire ants) that it helped change my outlook.

  8. I agree with everyone else – if it’s good for the bug, it’s good for you. But, I do have to admit that I have an irrational fear of bugs. So, when I buy my organic groceries, I make like Rachel Ray (ugh) and wash them before they go in the fridge. If I find a bug, I stiffle a mini-yelp, and call my husband over to pick it out for me. Hopefully, someday I can overcome my irrational fear. But, at least it doesn’t keep me from buying organic :)

  9. ugh! bad memories all around- once i made myself a similar salad, and didn’t notice the (thankfully deceased) grasshopper until i was wondering why my croutonless salad was so crunchy.

    i am still a little wary of the boxed lettuce.

  10. Oh for god’s sake, pick the bug off, rinse the leaves, eat the darn salad, where do you think argula comes from, a sterile factory? Reminds me of a woman I saw in the greenmarket one day screaming for a policeman because she wanted a vendor arrested for picking up a potato that had rolled on the ground and putting it back in the bin – it now had “touched the ground” and was inedible according to her…

  11. A few bugs and a little dirt never hurt anyone. In fact, evidence is quickly mounting that overly sanitized food can actually weaken you immune system and encourage allergies.

    Of course, that’s not license to go out and dig into a cow-pie.

    I’ve never really had any salad bug problems… and I buy almost exclusively organic. Celery on the other had, I’ve encountered several very plump, very much alive green catepillars.

  12. Tim, that’s quite the leap of logic you’ve made.

    In general organic food is food grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. in an ecologically sustainable manner. Specifically, Organic food must comply with a set of government regulations. Educate yourself:

    http://afsic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=2&tax_level=1&tax_subject=296

    It is very precisely defined.

    Adam, you just wasted some perfectly good Baby Arugula. Learn to expect a few bugs in organic produce. While you can control bugs organically, you can’t eliminate them completely. He was harmless anyway as long as you’re gentle. Don’t put it in your mouth though. I have it on good authority that they’re not good eats.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_bug

  13. I agree that it is better to eat a bug than to eat pesticide. The human body knows how to digest bugs, not bug spray.

    I do love that the package says Pre-Washed

  14. Ooh, Zingerman’s recipe mac’n’cheese is so good! I’ve had that before and it was incredible. That Ari sure knows his stuff.

  15. I must be mistaken, I thought the comment about never eating salad again was a joke. But yes, when I grow vegetables in my garden I often find little critters in them when I’m washing them. Just gotta be careful and wash carefully.

  16. Yes, yes Adam. Like everyone has said, living creatures in your food =organic. Just the other day I bought an “organic” chicken to roast, but there wasn’t a breathing organism anywhere on the thing! I took it straight back, found a nice roaster with a few earthworms and a praying mantis in the cavity, and had the best dinner of the year.