In the autumn of 1792, (Jeraad) locusts began to appear in West Barbary. The corn [grain]was in ear, and therefore safe, as this devouring insect attacks no hard substance. …
As vegetation increased, these insects increased in size and quantity. But the country did not yet seem to suffer from them. About the end of March, they increased rapidly.
I was at … the emperor’s garden, which belongs to the Europeans, and which was given to the [European] merchants of Mogodor by the emperor Seedi Muhamed ben Abdallah, …, and the garden flourished with every green herb, and the fruit-trees were all coming forward in the productive beauty of spring.
I went there the following day, and not a green leaf was to be seen: an army of locusts had attacked it during the night, and had devoured every shrub, every vegetable, and every green leaf; so that the garden had been converted into an unproductive wilderness. And, notwithstanding the incredible devastation that was thus produced, not one locust was to be seen.
The gardener reported, that (sultan jeraad) ‘the king of the locusts’ had taken his departure eastward early in the morning; the myriads of locusts followed, so that in a quarter of an hour not one was to be seen….
The poor would go out a locusting, as they termed it: the bushes were covered; they took their (haik) garment, and threw it over them, and then collected them in a sack. In half an hour they would collect a bushel.
These they would take home, and boil a quarter of an hour; they would then put them into a frying-pan, with pepper, salt, and vinegar, and eat them, without bread or any other food, making a meal of them.
They threw away the head, wings, and legs, and ate them as we do prawns. They considered them wholesome food, and preferred them to pigeons.
Afterwards, whenever there was any public entertainment given, locusts was a standing dish; and it is remarkable that the dish was always emptied, so generally were they esteemed as palatable food.
- Locust Soufflé, Anyone? It’s a Start – NYTimes.com (wpvins.wordpress.com)