July 8 ABCNEWS.com
By David George Gordon
What kind of freak would want to eat bugs? For
one, that oddball who just happens to be me.
Here's a Recipe To Try
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon Dijon
2 tablespoon minced fresh herbs -- parsley, mint, thyme
12 frozen katydids, locusts, or other suitably sized
1 red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
1. Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a nonreactive
2. Add the Orthoptera, cover, and marinate overnight.
3. When ready to cook, remove the insects from the
marinade. Pat them dry, for ease of handling. Assemble
each kabob, alternately skewering the insects, tomatoes,
and onion wedges to create a visually interesting lineup.
4. Cook the kabobs two or three inches above the fire,
turning them every two or three minutes and basting them
with additional olive oil as required. The exact cooking
time will vary, depending on the kind of grill and types
of insects used; however, the kabobs should cook for no
longer than 8 or 9 minutes.
I dont take it personally, though. The diets of
many of the worlds indigenous cultures include some
form of land-dwelling arthropodan insect, spider,
centipede, scorpion or such.
Venezuelas Piroa tribesmen, for instance, are
fond of giant tarantulas, plucked from their dens in the
rain forest and roasted over an open fire. Native
Algerians collect locusts, drying and salting their catch
to preserve them for feasting during lean times.
In central Africa, the bug of choice is the termite,
harvested en masse at the start of the rainy season. In
south Australia, its the witchity grubthe
larval form of an oversized moth.
Whats to be gained from a diet of bugs? Plenty:
A grasshoppers body is more than 20
percent protein, nearly equal to that of lean ground
beef. The protein content jumps to 60 percent after these
small animals are dried.
Many insects contain abundant stores of lysine,
an amino acid deficient in the diets of many people who
depend heavily on grain.
Crickets are loaded with calcium, while
termites are rich in iron.
One hundred grams of giant silkworm moth larvae
meet the daily requirements for copper, zinc, iron,
thiamine and riboflavin.
Its hard to say what motivated Europeans to
refrain from the widespread and unquestionably wholesome
practice of entomophagy (bug eating). Quite possibly, our
societal disdain for bug cuisine was shared by the first
farmers in the northern climes, who regarded most insects
as crop- and livestock-damaging pests.
For these early agronomists, eating bugs was probably
like sleeping with the enemy. To discourage anyone from
going over to the other side, they manufactured all
manner of bad press for bugs.
Hundreds of years later, most people regard insects
and other arthropods as germ-filled and
foul-tastingtwo views that have little, if any,
basis in fact.
I began collecting bug-based recipes three years ago,
while working on my previous book, The Compleat Cockroach
(which, by the way, includes a pair of dishes made with
this ubiquitous and universally despised insect). The
strange fruits of my labors are now presented in The
Eat-a-Bug Cookbook: 33 Ways to Cook Grasshoppers, Ants,
Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes and their Kin (published
by Ten Speed Press).
Many of the books recipes are inspired by the
culinary traditions of entomophagous (bug-eating)
societiesthe Dayak of northern Borneo, the Yanomamo
of Brazil, South African Pedi, and the Shoshone of
Wyoming, to name just a few.
One recipe came from the New York Entomological
Societys Centennial Banquet, undoubtedly the most
lavish insect-eating affair in the history of the Western
World. The rest arose from my overly fertile imagination.
Its time to claim your share of land-dwelling
arthropodsconservatively estimated at about 200
million for every person on the planet.