Enchanting or Offensive? We Find Our Own Red Bee… In Our Morning Jelly!


The picture you see was not staged. It’s exactly what we saw when we extracted our butter knife from the jar of red currant jelly purchased recently at the Greenmarket. And if you can’t tell what that curled mass is sitting on the blade’s surface, let us assure you that it’s a perfectly preserved yellow-and-black-striped bee.

Let us begin by saying that we were not disgusted by the dead insect floating in our jam. OK, maybe a little, but we didn’t want to be. Mostly, we were charmed by the incident. It made us feel closer to nature, even like we were a party to the whole pollination process that resulted in the currants that resulted in the jelly that we were smearing on our market-bought toasted bread. Shouldn’t this happen more often, in fact? Don’t we want to know that our food is grown as nature intended and not hatched from pods or test tubes? We go to the butcher and buy the bits of animal rarely found cellophaned in the supermarket. We eat our fish whole, with the head and the eyes intact. We aren’t offended when we find feathers on our fowl, sand in our seafood. So, why should a bit of bug bother us? And it didn’t; not so much. We just thought we’d share.

Recently, the strange phenomenon of red bees in Brooklyn baffled beekeepers until they realized the insects were dipping into a nearby maraschino cherry factory. The Brooklyn Kitchen even hosted a tasting of the tinted honey. Ultimately, we suppose there’s something enchanting about those instances when we’re forced to remember where our food comes from: i.e., from the uncontrolled, unsanitized outdoors. Don’t you agree? Or do you think we should be grossed out by the bee in our breakfast?

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