Monday, November 13, 2006

Animal of the Week November 13, 2006 -- The witchetty grub eats the witchetty shrub

Take the phone off the hook, put down your copy of War and Peace, cancel all appointments you may have for the next few weeks. For, thank the lord, I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here is back! Sorry non-UKers, you won’t be able to watch this marvel of televisual entertainment in which ten of our top media figures battle with the elements and the insects with the aim of being crowned king or queen of the jungle. If they succeed they will join such cultural behemoths as Kerry Katona and Joe Pasquale (do you know how hard I find it not to use Pesci instead of Pasquale – now that would be worth watching) on the fast train to Iceland! If they fail, well, it’s a short trip back to obscurity (unfortunately they do come back).

No doubt, at some point over the next few weeks, a squealing nobody will bravely chow down on one of this week’s animals in a bushtuckertrial. For this week’s animal is Xyleutes leucomochla, (cossid moth, witchetty grub). These native Australian delicacies are actually the larvae of any one of several beetle or moth species, but most commonly they’re cossid moth larvae.

Witchetty grubs rather poetically feed on the roots of witchetty shrubs. They grow fat on the sap, storing up energy for a fleeting life as an adult. The moths are the size of sparrows, and the grubs may be 7 cm long and as fat as your finger (if you’ve got fat fingers like me).

Eaten raw they provide tasty snacks with leathery skin, sweet flesh, and a liquid centre (like liqueur chocolates in a sausage skin). If you prefer, you can, in true Australian style, throw them on the barbie—after such treatment they will taste like chicken (of course – what doesn’t?) or prawns with peanut butter. To people survivining in the outback, these larvae can be a lifeline, for TV producers, they're another titilating, humiliating stunt!

So who will end up eating the witchetty grubs? Will it be 1980s newsreader Jan Leaming, Tony Blair’s sister in law Lauren Booth, ex-Joseph Jason Donovan, ex-Footballer’s wife Phina Oruche, or ex-Mr Minelli and current Mr Potato Head David Guest? You’ll just have to watch to find out.

At least we know it won’t be flamboyant designer, Scott Henshall (no me neither), who has said that he will not eat any creepy crawlies; so no doubt the producers will be feeding him the testicles this time – which was probably, after having seen a snippet of him on the show, his thinking all along.

Oh, and this week's picture, there is a witchetty grub in his hand, and well, it's only a matter of time before one of them is on IACGMOOH, right?

I thank you,


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