An uninvited guest muscles into spinach
EVEN though she was dealing with recurring neck pain, Rose Mary Carter was up and cooking lunch.
Her grandchildren were there, so the Spotsylvania County resident had a few different things on the stove on Feb. 12.
Her grandson and granddaughter love spinach, so she’d found a can and opened it. Bringing the eye of the stove up to heat, Carter prepared the greens the way she always does.
She eventually dipped a fork in for a taste to see if she’d added enough seasonings. Looking down at the forkful, she saw a sizable, chunky brown bit in the mix. Something was wrong, she thought, because meat isn’t generally added to canned greens for seasoning.
Carter put the spoonful down and snagged her glasses for a better look.
“I looked down and saw two eyes of a grasshopper looking up at me,” she said. “Oh my goodness!”
“I took the greens and put them back in the can, with the grasshopper sitting up on top,” she said.
Needless to say, the grandchildren did without their greens for lunch that day.
Carter said she didn’t let the discovery end there.
She called Allens cqInc., of Siloam cqSpring, Ark., the company that had canned the “Popeye” greens, to report her find.
Carter said the Allens representative apologized for the unintended inclusion of the grasshopper, and said that despite best efforts, it’s difficult to get each and every field insect—like grasshoppers—out of harvested greens like spinach.
She said the company, which is going to send her an envelope and plastic bag to retrieve the grasshopper for study, inquired about its color.
When Carter noted that it was a crispy brown, the company spokeswoman said that indicated the grasshopper was in the greens when they were cooked.
Carter noted that the woman told her that even if she had eaten the grasshopper, it wouldn’t have harmed her, and that in some places, people regularly eat grasshoppers.
“Not in this house they don’t,” said Carter. “I don’t want to eat any grasshoppers.”
In addition to sending her a return envelope for the roasted grasshopper, Carter said the canned food company promised to send coupons for some of their products to cover her purchase.
The Spotsylvania grandmother said she had also reported her find to the Food Lion where she’d made her purchase.
Carter said store officials gladly gave her a refund but had no interest in getting the grasshopper.
Though some of Carter’s friends have advised her to try frozen rather than canned spinach, she said she may swear off the healthy greens for a bit.
“I saw some the other night when we went out to eat,” said Carter, and wasn’t interested. “It may be awhile before I want them again.”
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415