It is my great and humble pleasure to host this August, 2010 edition of Circus of the Spineless! August is certainly a time when invertebrates, especially insects and arachnids, take center-stage. Largely undaunted by summertime heat, these numerous and variable species are out and about, in all of their spineless splendor.  These creatures play a major role in the food chain for other animal species, so it should come as no surprise that summertime is a veritable smorgasbord for insectivores. Though we all love our spineless brethren (why else would we be here?), we usually don’t think of them as food for ourselves. At least I don’t. Eeewwww.

Do you?

Ok, if you HAD to look at insects and their spineless ilk as food, what would your menu look like? Would it resemble the menus of birds, herps, mammals – even other insects?

While you ponder your own personal spineless “specials,” I’ll go ahead and play hostess to this playful presentation of this month’s contributions to Circus of the Spineless!

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ENTERTAINMENT & AMBIANCE

No meal is consumed in a vacuum, so it seems fitting to set the mood with a little entertainment. Today’s performers are brought to us by Mike Bok of Arthropoda. His jumping spiders will have you laughing and smiling – you simply must follow his link to the videos set to music.

APPETIZERS

CIRCUS SPECIALTIES

  • Nematode Soup» Fresh from the Gulf Coast, steeped in natural petroleum crude. Served with a healthy side of social commentary. Chef: Dr. Holly Bik, from her visit to Deep Sea News. Recipe, “Invisible But Not Forgotten.”
  • Honeybee Croquets» Baked mixture of whole honey bees, flower petals, sunflower seeds, honey, and pollen. Served with a wedge of dried honeycomb. Chef: Melliferax of Melliferax. Recipe, a Swedish favorite, “Honeybee Trivia: Queens.”
  • Pasta & Click Beetles» Wheat pasta tossed with sauteed Click Beetles, blanketed in our white wine asiago cheese sauce. Garnished with a Really Pretty Click Beetle. Chef: Dragonflywoman of The Dragonfly Woman. Recipe, “Click! Click! Click!” from Arizona’s historical archives.
  • Spider Spring Rolls» Small green spiders and roasted red bell peppers with sticky rice , rolled in Agapanthus leaves. Chef: David Winter of The Atavism. Recipe, “Sunday Spineless – A Missed Opportunity,” from his home town in New Zealand.
  • Amphipod Jambalaya» Classic Cajun jambalaya featuring Amphipods, sometimes mistaken for shrimp, prawns, or other crustaceans. Stock is rich with media sensationalism. Chef: Zen Faulkes of NeuroDojo. Recipe, “Drugs in the water affecting crustaceans’ precious bodily fluids?
  • Ambush Bug and Butterfly Salad Sandwich» On toasted rye bread, served with a dill pickle. Another favorite receipe, “It’s a trap!“,  from Chef Mike Bok, of Arthropoda.
  • Boxelder Bug and Venus Flytrap Enchiladas» Venus Flytrap heads, complete with captured insects and attendant Boxelder Bugs. Mixed with rice and three cheeses, topped with tomatillo sauce. Chef: Mike Bezner of Slugyard. Recipe made with ingredients from his own backyard, “Venus Flytrap Helping a Boxelder Bug.”
  • Bell Pepper stuffed with Aged Scarab Beetle» Yellow bell pepper, stuffed with aged Scarab Beetles and polenta. Chef: Susanah of Wanderin’ Weeta. Recipe, “Ancient Mystery Beetle,” from an antique cookbook.
  • Cicada Shishkabobs» Annual and periodic cicadas skewered with cherry tomatoes, onion, and pineapple. Grilled over an open flame and served with a baked potato. Chef: Matthew Wills of Backyard and Beyond. Recipe, “Cicadas, Part I,” from his new cookbook, Grillin’ It, Cicada-style!
  • Praying Mantis Quesadillas» Two home-made flour tortillas loaded with Praying Mantises, onion, and cheese. Pan-fried in olive oil until slightly crisp. Served with pico de gallo and guacamole. Another masterpiece by Chef Zen Faulkes of NeuroDojo. Recipe “Life and death and sex choices in mantids.

DESERT

AFTER-HOURS NIGHT-CAP

For those of you who have something a little racy in mind, Chef Hectocotyli of hectocotyli has something for you. Must be 18 or older to imbibe!

NOT-SO-SPINELESS

For those of you who prefer something a little less spineless, Katie of Tripbase has provided us with her selection of the “6 Most Unusual Sea Creatures in the world.”

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I hope you have enjoyed browsing the menu!

Next month’s Circus of the Spineless will be hosted by Hectocotyli, so be sure to get your submissions to him by the end of August!

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