Summer Food: Spam con Cerveza; a Locust Fry Over the past few weeks, we've heard stories about the foods that mean "summer" to some of our listeners: tomatoes, peach milk shakes, apricot jam. Now, we hear about some more unusual summer foods.
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Summer Food: Spam con Cerveza; a Locust Fry

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Summer Food: Spam con Cerveza; a Locust Fry

Summer Food: Spam con Cerveza; a Locust Fry

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


We've been hearing stories about the foods that mean summer to you - tomatoes, peach milkshakes, apricot jam. So far it's all been pretty tame. Well, not this week. When Melissa Spurr of Joshua Tree, California, sent in this recipe for Spam con Cerveza. We didn't know if we were supposed to eat it or drink it.

Ms. MELISSA SPURR (Resident, Joshua Tree, California): Twelve to 36 cans of Modelo beer; one can of Spam; one avocado - if available; one tomato -optional; fresh tortillas - always available in Mexico.

NORRIS: Ah. Then it became clear that this was not just a recipe; it was an experience.

Ms. SPURR: Find a nice, secluded beach on any Mexican coast. When your vehicle becomes mired in sand on the access road, open a few cans of Modelo and go surfing. After a day of surfing, open more cans of Modelo, pass them around and drink them. Then build a beach bonfire, open Spam can, open more cans of beer. Fill the Spam can to the rim with beer and place it in the fire and drink the remaining beer. Cook the Spam in beer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cut up the avocados and tomatoes and place them on the tortillas. Remove the Spam can from the fire using a towel as an oven mitt and remove the Spam from the can, shoveling it out with a pocketknife and divide the Spam amongst the tortillas. Fold up the tortillas and enjoy with a can of beer.

NORRIS: Melissa Spurr says this recipe, borne out of necessity two decades ago during a trip to Baja, became a staple on all her surfing trips. Now, she's older and she's a vegetarian, and she says she's cut way back on those Modelos.

Now, I'm not sure if beer would help this next summer, I'm not even sure what to call it, go down any easier.

Ms. JACQUELYN KUEHN (Resident, Lucernemines, Pennsylvania): Did he eat it? Did he eat it? I couldn't see. The young teenager's voice squeaked with horror. My niece would hardly imagine that my husband, John, would really eat the daddy longlegs as he had threatened to do.

NORRIS: That's Jacquelyn Kuehn of Lucernemines, Pennsylvania. She wrote in to tell us about one summer her husband, John, cajoled the whole family into eating bugs. Yes, you heard me. She's talking about bugs.

Ms. KUEHN: The shortening in my deep fryer was good and hot. I blotted the water off the beasts with a paper towel and dropped them into the fat. They sizzled noisily for a few minutes. I wanted to be sure they were very well done. Finally, I skimmed them out, sprinkled a bit of salt over their crisp, ugly carcasses and set the platter in front of John.

We thanked the Lord for our food, asking him to make it good for our bodies, with perhaps more feeling than usual. John beamed as he served us each a locust and passed the honey.

NORRIS: Jacquelyn Kuehn is with us now. And I'm guessing you used quite a bit of honey on that locust.

Ms. KUEHN: Oh, we did.

NORRIS: More than just drizzling; doused it in honey.

Ms. KUEHN: Absolutely.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: How did it taste?

Ms. KUEHN: You know, by the time I had deep-fried them that well, there really was very little left but crunch, and then the honey gave a little sweetness so it wasn't really too bad.

NORRIS: You have to fill in the story for us, how in the world did your husband go from teasing the family that he'd actually eaten a daddy longlegs to actually getting all of you to sit down to dinner, say grace and eat a plate of locusts?

Ms. KUEHN: Money, Michele.

NORRIS: Money. Okay.

Ms. KUEHN: Money talks. Our children were middle teenagers. This was about five years ago. And he offered each of us, including me, $5 to eat one locust.

NORRIS: And everyone took the bait.

Ms. KUEHN: Everyone took the bait. Our son...

NORRIS: Or the bite, I should say.

Ms. KUEHN: Yes. The bite.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KUEHN: Our son decided it wasn't so bad, and could he earn $10 if he ate two? The answer was yes, so he did.

NORRIS: I'm trying to imagine, not just what they tasted like, but what they sounded like?

Ms. KUEHN: The worst sound was when my husband handed me the Cool Whip container with the live ones in it. And they were scratching on the plastic.

NORRIS: Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.

Ms. KUEHN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. KUEHN: But by the time they actually made it to our plates, you know, they sounded like, what, chips or something like that - crunchy, by the time we put them in our mouth.

NORRIS: How did you decide on honey because there are all kinds of condiments, I guess, you could use to try to enhance or maybe mask the flavor - catsup, mustard.

Ms. KUEHN: Well, right. After the first idea arrived, John the Baptist lived on locusts and wild honey, didn't he? So they seem to go together.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: Well, Jacquelyn, thank you so much for sharing this story.

Ms. KUEHN: Thank you very much, Michele.

NORRIS: Jacquelyn Kuehn of Lucernemines, Pennsylvania, talking about the summer her family ate bugs. There are more summer food stories and recipes, though we left out instructions for those deep-fried locusts. You're on your own if you want to do that. But you'll find the recipes on our Web site,

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