I know that people eat weird things. They eat dogs, cats, and bugs, and perhaps that is no different from eating lambs, pigs, and cows. I went to college. I know about diversity. That said, when I found out that a man was recently detained entering London’s Gatwick Airport from Burkina Faso with more than 200 pounds of dried caterpillars, my response was a very simple and un-collegiate “Ewwwwww.”
His response was that the caterpillars were all for “personal consumption.” Which just led me to more ewwww, and then to the expected jokes about “That’s a lot of caterpillar stroganoff; that’s a lot of creamed chipped caterpillar over toast.” (I had way more in my mind; I print these just to show you what you are spared.) I mean, people eat caterpillars — I found this video of little kids in Zambia eating caterpillars, although then I looked on a map and realized that Burkina Faso and Zambia are more that 4,000 miles apart and their caterpillar-eating traditions very likely have nothing to do with each other. But, you know, I eat Cheerios and I still don’t travel with 200 pounds of them.
There is only one thing to take away from this man’s experience, and that is if you are flying from Burkina Faso, formerly the Republic of Upper Volta, into Gatwick Airport in the U.K., leave the caterpillars in Burkina Faso.
Dried caterpillars found in luggage at Gatwick Airport, BBC.