I have just had my first mouthful of witchety grubs.
The reason we chose the Outback Caravan Park over the others in Tennant Creek was that it advertised Jimmy the bush tucker man's show every night in the caravan park.
Jimmy does a different show each night. One night the focus is damper. Next night it's kangaroo. We struck out and came on the witchety grub night.
$3 per person was the charge. There were about 30 of us gathered around the campfire. For our city kids it was I think virtually their first open campfire experience.
Jimmy is 61. Lived initially in Mount Isa. Moved to Tennant Creek decades ago. He said he lived under gumtree 69. This is an aboriginal joke that as they assimilated into white society they had to give their address on forms. But this was difficult when they are living a nomadic life. This was hard for the white administration to understand. So it became standard practice to write one's address as Gumtree 69. It's where everyone lived.
It can't be too bad at Gumtree 69 though because it has Ausstar Pay TV.
He told the story of the ABC's Australian Story coming out to do a story about Gumtree 69. Jimmy was the first person they met, and said that he lived under Gumtree 69 and the story ended up being about him.
He gave us three poems. The first was a tribute to a cafe at the top end of town. It was advertorial at it's best. He got free breakfast and coffee in exchange for plugging the cafe at each of his shows.
Next poem was about his parrot weetbix and his dog. He said he had been thrown out of more places than anyone in the NT. Not because of drunkenness but because his parrot kept attacking people.
Third poem was about the building of the railway line from Adelaide to Perth.
Then it was witchety grub eating. He had three witchety grubs. He said that although he was called the bush tucker man it was hard finding witchety grubs these days so he would pay a couple of more outback guys a beer for each witchety grub they found for him.
You throw the witchety grubs in the ashes of a hot fire and leave them for five/ten minutes. Then scrape off the ash. To me they smelt like egg in chinese food.
Then he cut up a piece of witchety grub for each of us. Hannah was very keen to eat it - so that she could freak out her friends at school. The boys also had some and Cathie. Then their was peer group pressure from the other members of my family.
I had a piece of the smallest one and it still had a fair bit of ash. It didn't taste that good. But I have now done it.