Now, Look Here (Publicistics) — Part Three

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Chapter 16 (v.1) - About the usefulness of cockroaches (scientific feuilleton)

Submitted: May 06, 2018

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Submitted: May 06, 2018





(scientific feuilleton)

Well, there are many reasons exactly about the benefits of our constant companions in our homes nowadays and because of this I quietly say that I am feeding cockroaches at home, for it turns out to be really so. I am looking at them, as cares about them (because, if I was not there, then they also would not have been there, at least not in such abundance), but also as watching them (will I this or not, where necessary — if it is at all necessary somewhere, even if I don't understand clearly where exactly —, and where not), in all time, but especially in the evenings and nights (approximately before the beginning of the dawn) and mostly in the kitchen joint. So that let me explain to the readers why they are so useful, in order to dedicate them this material.
The first consideration is that once God has created them then they must exist, otherwise they wouldn't have existed! This is iron logic, of the type of ancient Eastern view, that this world is the best one from all possible (for if there was some better one then it would have been settled long ago). If some of you don't like the word 'God' then substitute it with 'Nature', i.e. the cockroaches are part of the whole ecological cycle on Earth, especially in the hot areas, so that if there was not necessity of them then they, surely, would have disappeared (say, in our climatic zones there are not white bears, right, but in the North they exist, yet there are no cockroaches). In general case this is correct also for many other insects (for the flies, gnats, spiders, and others), but the next things are already more specialized, and the idea is that they multiply exactly where is felt some necessity of them (because otherwise they would have not done this, to remind you this again), and if we don't understand clearly their significance (i.e. God's intentions), then this is our problem.
The second consideration is that they exist from deep antiquity, far before the mammals, and when so then they have rich experience and well-tested instincts; regardless of their antiquity, though, when it becomes necessary, they mutate easy (like also the other insects), what is confirmed by the fact that now are met mainly ones smaller, reddish (rather reddish-brown) and elongated, not those that were 20-30 years before (black and spherical, although such also are met sometimes. But it is possible that exactly the reddish are the classical type, because your word 'cockroach' means 'reddish cocca' or 'kuka' (in Bulgarian, what is hook, meant as something curled). These nasty creatures — but, to remind you that this word comes from ... the creation, or v.v., of course (and the same is the situation in Slavonic languages, where in Russian they are tvari and to create is tvorit), i.e. they are also God's creations, like the other animals (a thing that was present also in the Western, or rather French, and from there also English, word ... cretin, which has arisen from Latin creare what is to create — and I may add that this must be so because this thing is usually done in deep bowls named in old Greek kraters /craters).
So that these God's creatures are practicably indestructible, and as if the most reliable method is ... the cold, i.e. if you stay in cold premises, below 20oC at least in the winter, then they decrease in their number to the possible minimum. Otherwise, when you sprinkle with something, then they run away for some time, but one thing is that they run to your neighbours, what is not solving of the question in it's fullness, but also after some time they return back, if they like it by you, i.e. if it is hot, you cook and spill here and there some food, if there are cupboards and /or boxes (and in what home they are missing?) where they can hide and multiply, and especially in older homes, where are some cracks in the walls or plastering, although I wouldn't have said that they will refuse to settle in a good and new brick home. In order not to separate this as new point I can add here also that they are big ... patriots, i.e. they like their places, where they have hatched (even if they don't know their father and mother, of course), so that if you drive them away for some time, they return again later.
The third consideration is that they are not poisonous, don't bite and don't even buzz, they are quiet and humble 'home pets'. Actually, the 'classical' home fly is far more annoying than one well bred and bashful cockroach (for they, as a rule, are afraid to appear before your eyes, they wait until you go out of the kitchen and then begins their time), not to mention the gnats, spiders, as also the home ants (which can bite, if necessary). Well, it is true that in the night they walk around, and if there are some greased with something boxes (say, styrofoam packagings of meat products), then they begin to scratch them, in order to clean them (no matter that you have not begged them specially about this), or it may happen that they can walk on ... your forehead, in order to 'wipe your sweat' or fat, so to say, but when you do not guess to do this, and when they suppose that you are sleeping, then why should not the insects make a little walk? In the end, they are living in your home, so that why not to visit you, ah? Indeed, if you have a dog or a cat, or small child, does it not happen that in the night he /she/ it comes to you as to a more secure place; take it that the cockroaches also seek protection by you from their nightmares (because, who knows?).
The fourth consideration is that they are not at all dirty, like many of us think, but on the contrary, they like to walk around the toothbrush or the sponge for dishwashing, i.e. even if they don't have teeth (I, honestly, have never looked what they have in the mouth), but like the disinfecting aroma, wash at lest their paws, and would have never hidden in dirty corners if you have offered them clear small boxes (as I said, they are shy, they don't like that you watched them when they sleep or, hmm, do these things that do also the humans when the hormones chase after them). So that, as a variant, you could leave for them one kitchen cupboard, or at least a pair of small boxes where you can throw any empty packs (say, out of safety matches, or medicaments, whichever you have, they are not pretentious, but the smaller their size is the better), or these can be simply paper pieces (used tram tickets or cash checks will also do), but don't touch them there and don't try to deceive them, beginning a genocide against them, because they, as we will see later, a quite clever. If in addition to this you pour them in the evening some fresh milk (but natural, do not torture them with dissolved milk powder, they have not deserved this) in one saucer, it can be in the bathroom, or even before the door of the apartment, then, in the end, — as I have heard the Hindus had the habit to do — they would be glad, and you too (because they will not scratch where you don't like to).
The fifth consideration is that they even cleanse your home of various greasy and fermenting products, stains on the floor, around the sink, on the oven, even around (and possibly also inside of) the refrigerator! Jokes aside, they process these liquid remains in solid product — such very small, like a head, or even a top, of a pin, but otherwise hygienic black balls, which in fact are their faeces (if I can allow myself to contaminate your hearing or eyesight with these words). Well, it is true that they stick to everything, where they have left them — and they leave them everywhere —, but this is a natural thing, so to say, and how to reprimand them, when also the little children, as well as the home animals, do the same thing, and their things also smell. Where the cockroaches, as I have said, are clear animals, and if they leave something after them, then it is well processed, with assimilated all possible protein substances, or fats, or milk products, but they don't look with contempt also at sweet things (although are not much greedy at them — while raw minced meat, even if with addition of soya, is another thing).
And because this is popular scientific presentation then let me explain to you some moments about the spoiling of products. Now, there are two kinds of spoilage, one is to preserving, and the other is to destroying; the first is to some kind of fermentation, i.e. oxidation, but is possible that initially goes also some sugarization, because the sugar easily becomes sour (it needs only some water and time), and the other kind is towards the alkaline. This must be confirmed by every chemist, because there are only acids and alkali (if you don't count the neutral substances, but they are only delimiting and unstable state). But this, what hardly some chemist will explain to you, is why the alkali is named so (and don't be confused with some etymology from Arabic, this isn't to the point), yet I have myself a version about this matter, I suppose that the alkali is more or less the same as the Russian word 'kal', what are the mentioned faeces. If you doubt about this Russian influence on the chemistry, then compare with these Latin faeces (and take into account that in Latin 'c' before 'a' is read as 'k'), which are split in two syllables (ultimately every word splits in syllables) and the first is some contemptuous (or spitting) fi- /fu- /tfu- or /phu-, and the second is this very 'kal', which comes from the old Greek, no matter that there it means something good, ????, and from there is also Bulgarian 'kal', which now is not so bad a thing as in Russian, it is simply a dirt, like mud. So that I am not in error (but let me not go here into details about this why the root 'kalo' can be both, something good and also something bad), and in this case the cockroaches, as also many other insects, collect everything sour and /or greasy, what they can find, and process it (inasmuch as all animal species process, to some extent, the products, as also the plants, but they do this mainly with inorganic substances) in solid alkaline faeces. Id est, the cockroaches don't eat sh##, as many can possibly think, but are very clean insect-creatures.
The sixth consideration is that they are extremely intelligent creatures, and nearly always more clever or smart than the humans, more so taking into account that they have almost nothing, i.e. their 'brains' are with dimensions of tip of a pin, and this by older exemplars, to say nothing about the 'children', and their eyes are faceted, i.e. they see only spots, something like nearsighted with at least 10 diopters. You just imagine how you would have felt if were forced to watch your favorite TV series on a circular screen (the size does not matter) with about 50 spots, probably in one colour. And in spite of this they almost always guess your intentions, and when you just stay and look at them they stay quiet, but only you decide to stretch your hand and grasp something in order to kill them, and they have already disappeared. Such rapidness and precision of reactions, by such primitive structure of their organisms, is directly fantastic, and such are the cockroaches, amazing creatures, just to feel remorse to kill them! And it is even not clear, when we destroy them with different chemical agents, don't we do them something ... good in genetic regard, forcing in this way new and better suited mutations (to say nothing about the physical destruction — this is simply survival of the fittest, i.e. we select them in this way!).
The seventh consideration, which is penultimate in our list (or last in a more serious aspect), is that they are unusually slender and beautiful insects, at least the elongated reddish ones, in good physical condition, directly acrobats, clime the walls, and sometimes even walk on the ceiling, were it only sufficiently warm (higher than 20 degrees Celsius), for the reason that the insects lack yet control of their body temperature. ( And for some time I have looked that one my toothpick, or rather a fragment of such, as if is not on the same place where I have left it the previous day — I am living alone and there is nobody else to touch it —, but thought that maybe I am wrong, yet when this happened several times I came to the conclusion that these creatures simply ... are exercising sports in the night, they are lifting weights, ah? But maybe this 'cockroach-boy' — because in Bulgarian this insect is 'she', or then 'girl' because in Russian it is 'he', i.e. I mean that the sex may be different from the usually accepted, although in English the usual things sometimes sound unusually —, so maybe this 'guy' or 'girl:' is simply angry at me that I have left nothing on the toothpick, whether I know, but one Bulgarian intellectual cannot allow himself to leave tasty bits even on the tip of a toothpick, so that let this 'insector' or 'insectoress' forgive me. )
But if they can't regulate their body temperature, then they can lay eggs, which survive the cold times, so that it again turns out that they are built physically very well. Besides, they can cling to practically any surface (plaster, paint, wood, faience, etc.) if only it is not extremely polished, and if you think that they sometimes fall from the table — because this has to be the idea behind the Russian name 'tarakan', i.e. that they do 'trr' when they flop to the ground — then you are wrong, they simply jump! Id est they know that they can't fly, but they are light, the reddish ones (and the black ones have hard shell, and surely keep balance better than the cats, so that they land on their paws), and jump from a height of one meter, even of two (what, compared with their dimensions, means that a human jumps from 100 - 200 meters, and without any parachute, maybe only opening a little the flanks of his overcoat!). And they are quite beautiful — all insects are directly perfect in their structure —, and the healthy body leads to healthy ... sex, of course, in every time, like by the humans, so that: how one can not admire them? ( In fact, if there is something for which I don't like them much, this is that one just can't ... swear at them properly, because, you see, with a cockroachess, and more so if it is 'he', isn't the best thing to imagine. )

Well, on parting we can add an eight consideration about the usefulness of cockroaches — this, that they can be quite useful as ... food! Id est, they maybe are not very tasty (I, for my part, have always felt pity to kill them for this purpose, so that I personally have not tasted them), but they contain fats (it is seen when one smashes them with a good hit), proteins (when they are so agile, because we eat mainly muscles, the so called striated, which are some long fibers and with hooks at both ends and they cling to one another), and also contain calcium, because they have chitin shells and non-developed wings (what is nearly equal to ... milk products, for we eat milk and milk products chiefly because of the calcium in them, that is necessary especially for the young and the old). So that here is one such recipe:

Cockroaches with rice a la Myrski

You take one glass jar for stewed fruit, 700 - 800 ml, pour in it half coffee cup of rice (50 g), add a coffee cup of fresh milk (100 ml), pour also a little (10 ml) sunflower oil, put very little salt and sugar (maybe also black pepper, if you have accustomed them to more spicy food), curl around the jar some handkerchief (it might be also used, so is even better) and fix it with elastic band to the orifice, so that it hung down and reached to the floor, but otherwise left the jar open, and put it in the evening in the kitchen or the bathroom, where the cockroaches like to walk. The handkerchief is not obligatory, or can be used also some narrow piece of cloth tied like a cravat, which stretches on the floor, but it is necessary to have something similar in order to alleviate the rising to the top for these little animals, after what they jump — voluntarily, i.e. you do not compel them, this is quite democratic approach — inside, eat as much as they can, but can't climb back out. If for one night there will not accumulate enough — they have to be about 50 -100 pieces, otherwise the meal will be very meatless — then leave the jar for a second (or third) night; don't be afraid that the milk will spoil, it will firstly try to preserve itself through some kind of souring, or add a little vinegar (this may attract even more insects). In the day when you decide to cook this meal you just pour quickly the contents in the saucepan, where you have first fried a little grated union, in more oil, add water for the rice, put the preferred by you spices, but do not forget finely chopped celery, parsley or dill, and after half an hour of cooking (the cockroaches will quickly be ready, they are too small) add, if possible, some grated parmesan. After fife more minutes the meal is ready.
Well, this is portion for one person, so that if you are more people, or if you expect guests, then put several such jars, or even ask some of your neighbours to leave for a night a pair of jars by them; usage of bigger jar with increased dose is also a variant, but don't fill much a small jar (maximum till 1/3 of the it, but preferably till the 1/4), because the food can run away by you. This dish can be prepared also in clay pots, and then instead of parmesan you can knock on top by one (tiny, it can be from quail) egg, but there is no necessity of other meat additions, in order to be able to feel good the taste of the insects.
Well, bon appetite!

And love the cockroaches, they deserve this!

Sep 2012







© Copyright 2019 Chris Myrski. All rights reserved.


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