The people of Kuma County have mixed reactions when it comes to eating giant hornets.
Yes. Some people, mostly our elders, think that eating bees is the bee’s knees. Other residents find eating hornets disgusting. You wouldn’t think that eating hornets would be a debatable topic but here we are.
But they don’t just grab any old bee and pop it in their mouth, however. They are partial to eating suzumebachi, the largest most aggressive hornet in the world. This objective failure of any Divine Intelligence’s grasp of creative wisdom is as big and as hairy as a coked-up trucker’s thumb. And they eat it. Humans are awesome.
The people of Kuma are also partial to baked honeybee larvae. They season simply with salt and eat them like popcorn. What do they taste like? Imagine what baked and then salted bee larvae taste like. Yep, it tastes just like that. Good job.
Another creative use for gigantic hornets is to put ten or so into a bottle of shochu, let the poison seep into the alcohol, and then, you guessed it, drink it. It turns the shochu a slightly yellowish color and adds a bite to the hard alcohol. But it is recommended that one not imbibe too much.
‘Cause it’s poison.
I have partaken in all forms of bee and hornet consumption. I’ve eaten suzumebachi on three occasions. It’s not the best thing in the world. It tastes like salty bland carapace mixed with antennae and slight nausea. Plus, the legs get stuck in your teeth to help the taste linger.
I’ve also had bee larvae. My wife’s relatives eat it like popcorn. I like it better than suzumebachi but that’s like saying I prefer frozen burritos to blood pudding. Both are garbage but if I had to choose… well, okay, gimme that frozen burrito. I’ll drowned it in salsa and see if I can … nope, still gross. Like that.
Suzumebachi shochu is a rare delicacy. It’s expensive to buy and dangerous to make yourself. Suzumebachi can kill you. A swarm attacked my step-father-in-law while he was hunting wild boar in the mountains last year. Quick thinking and a very heavy jacket saved his life but he did have to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, the hornet swarm did kill one of his hunting dogs and severely injured another.
I’ve had poisoned shochu twice and I like it. It’s a little unsavory to look at (like the science project of a psychotic adolescent) but it sends a nice warm aftertaste through your body. But there really is a taste of actual poison that makes you think, ‘Yep. That’s poison” and forces one to seriously reconsider overconsumption.
Two final thoughts. I love nature but I don’t think it loves me back. I mentioned in Welcome to Kuma County the beautiful nature of Kuma County. I talked about the mountains and their beauty. What I didn’t mention, though, is that the mountains are filled with bees. Dangerous, grotesque, bees that want to kill us all. With poison. So, in retaliation for so much hate, the people of Kuma Country decided to eat them. You know, to show them who’s boss.
I don’t enjoy eating hornets. But I will continue to eat them and shout my defiance to the mountains. “I am alive, you damned dirty bees. And I’m not taking any of your shit!” Nom nom nom.