Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1887. Seems like a commodity as poetical as graveyard honey really ought to have some sort of magical properties, but what? Maybe it cures grief but only temporarily, and when the grief returns it is redoubled, or its stay is lengthened sevenfold. Or maybe it’s just a good poultice for lumbago.
I was trying to figure out what this story reminded me of, and it finally came to me: It’s that weird-ass thing in the Good Book about Samson and the lion (Judges 14), which incidentally sets a Biblical precedent for not burdening consumers with too much information about where your bees have been. I quote:
And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.
I like honey, and once even helped a beekeeper harvest his hives, which was incredibly interesting. But honey is still objectively weird as an isolated, grandfathered exception to the vehement Western rejection of anything that remotely smacks of entomophagy. If honey were a new product, it would go absolutely nowhere. “It’s the amazing new sugary goo produced by flying bugs to feed their squirming white larvae! Try it, it’s good! Don’t worry, we’ve taken most of the larvae out.” Good luck with that, Don Draper.
And yet God clearly intended for us to eat the bugs, else He wouldn’t have made so damn many of them, nor provided us with detailed instructions as to which ones to avoid and which to dine upon. That’s all in Leviticus 11:20 through 22:
All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
The key clause here is the permission to eat the beetle after his kind. Since beetles make up 25% of all known life forms, this is God’s way of saying that the bug buffet is wide open. And yet we have strayed so far from the dietary path He proposes for us. Even to the extent that when a book entitled What Would Jesus Eat? The Ultimate Program for Eating Well, Feeling Great, and Living Longer comes along, it mentions only the prohibition against that which flies and creeps on all fours, and skates blithely over the probability that Jesus was stuffing His face with bugs from the manger to Gethsemane.
Now I’ll grant that there’s no actual description of Jesus eating bugs in the Bible, but neither do the Gospels document Him using the latrine, which I think we can presume he did, else it would likely have excited comment.
Anyway, reform has to start somewhere, so let’s everybody agree to eat a bug today. Deal?