Idiot’s guide to consuming nsenene (without shame)


In the beginning, you eat everything. You don’t yet have the imaginative power that it takes to be disgusted by the squishy innards of insects. In fact, your babysitter has to keep you in a cage made of pillows and plush toys to stop you from crawling out to the yard at the behest of mind controlling parasites that are just dying to get into your little soft babybody.

This continues until you’re fairly old and might even go on forever if you don’t encounter those ‘cool’ people with Disney accents, the ones who were born watching M-net and Hannah Montana. Because one day, in the company of your pompous friends, you’ll wistfully voice your craving for fried nsenene or roasted white ants or pounded white ants, or sundried nsenene and they’ll fold their faces into sumbusas of disgust.

High pitched coos of, “ugh! Gross” and, “OMG, so barbaric!” will abound. If you’re strong of character and if your love of insect based foods is unshakable, you may continue to prepare and consume them, but your enjoyment will never be the same. Something will have popped. Much like the abdomens of tiny grasshoppers when you overheat the grill.

All is not lost though. Here are some tricks you can use to continue quaffing your favorite bugs with a straight face and an unashamed heart:

All of the yum

Work: This is a great place to practice before you progress to eating nsenene in front of your friends. So during board meetings, shun the Danish cookies that have been strategically arranged around the room as motivation (ideas arrive fastest when your mouth is full of biscuit paste, not so?) Enter the room with your red container, preferably plastic with a screw-on lid.

Be confident and unapologetic in the way you twist open your container and let out the smell of your now sweaty insects. Proceed to consume with relish. You see, the only way to deal with feelings of shame that shouldn’t exist in the first place is by forcing people to accept and even embrace your localness.

Clothes, accessories: Wear shirts that declare the indisputable coolness of these insects and the people who eat them. If you remember, kikomando was terribly local in 2006. Nobody even wanted to acknowledge the saucepans of beans next to the chapatti sikas. But now? People take pictures of the stuff and post on instagram. So wear a shirt that says something like, “Nsenene, better than sex” or “Nsenene, responsible for Nikki Minaj” and watch yourself rise on the scale of cool.

Cameras! Lights! You could make a youtube video, I mean, that’s what people do for validation and publicity. Views are guaranteed. Likes are guaranteed. Comments are guaranteed. Go forth and wax lyrical about how much you like insects in your alimentary canal and all that.

Meanwhile, now I’m reminded of a time when I was determined to make a video for youtube, a rendition of Cookie Jar, a song originally done by The Gym Class Heroes. My version would be called Popsicle jar. I’d be singing about how I’d tried and tried, but I just couldn’t get my hand out of the Popsicle jar. That would have gone viral, man! I’d have no friends right now, but the satisfaction would have been epic.

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