I am a vendictive gardener (lots of possibly unappetizing pics)
My tomatoes this year are gorgeous, so I was stunned to notice that something was destroying them... rapidly! Not just the leaves, but the fruit, and the eggplant was getting eaten too. Steve thought it was a chipmunk, but I'd noticed some giant caterpillar poop near the worst of the damage and suspected the worst: tomato hornworms. It took me nearly ten minutes of staring at the plants until I finally found one. Nearly four inches long and as big around as a finger. Blech! I had a hard time putting it into a jar. These buggers can really hold on tight!
In the next hour or so, I found four more. I couldn't help but call my neighbor over to look at the ugly beasts. Nor could I help showing them to her teenage son and his friends, who were as fascinated/repulsed by them as I was.
I didn't kill them right away --- not because I didn't want them dead, but because they were so big I had to figure out the best way to get rid of them. So I googled for a little while to figure out what to do next. I don't know what came over me, maybe because I was using chopsticks to try to arrange them next to a tape measure to take a few pics (why didn't I think to put them in a martini glass as a measure of scale?) and it occurred to me they'd be big enough to stir fry... so I googled "tomato hornworm recipes." Imagine my horror when it yielded 40,000+ hits. It was a culinary train wreck. I was hooked. I couldn't unthink it. I couldn't look away.
I didn't think my neighbor would go for it, but putting a dare before teenage boys is easy pickins' (even if they're so picky in real life that they won't eat tomatoes, which one of them is). I knew Steve would be game: before he went to med school, he earned a masters in medical etymology and parasitology, and spent nine months doing research and living with the natives in the Amazon basin in Columbia and Brazil, eating some unusual things in the process, on account of there not being any grocery stores. My curiosity had been piqued. I had to do it. In fifteen minutes (at 10:00 pm on a weeknight) I had a friend, a spouse, and three teenage boys in my kitchen.
The posts on the internet claimed it was a very tomato-ey flavor, not unlike soft shell crab. I will not dispute that description. The boys were an absolute hoot, and although none of them ate more than half of their worms, each tried a good portion. Steve said he wouldn't mind having it again. I hope I never have enough worms to do so. There was something villainously delightful about serving them up on a slice of fried green tomato with a bit of basil on the side. The flavors were well matched, but it was so poetically just, I'm still giggling at the audacity of it.
If you haven't closed this post and run in terror yet, it's possible you might be wired as weirdly as I. If so, I submit for your train wreck viewing pleasure: