Bugs: They're Not Just For Birds Anymore!

An issue of the Food Insects Newsletter reports that 80 percent of the world's population eats insects intentionally and 100 percent eat insects unintentionally. In fact, if Americans tolerated more insects (you know, like, BUGS) in their food, farmers could significantly reduce the amount of pesticides applied to their crops each year. Additionally, by weight, termites, grasshoppers, caterpillars, weevils, house flies and spiders are better sources of protein than beef, chicken, pork or lamb according to the Entomological Society of America. Also, insects are low in cholesterol and low in fat.

Now that you know about some of the health and ecological benefits from consuming insects as your main protein source, you will enjoy reading about a culinary event that serves insects as human food that occurs every year in Manhattan. This is an event that people live to talk about.

(below the fold)

A discerning guest at a Manhattan cocktail party removed a scorpion from its bed of cheese atop an endive leaf and popped it in his mouth, determined to savor the taste unadulterated.

"Nutty, sweet," was the verdict of Gourmet magazine food editor Ian Knauer at the recent soiree.

"That's an antenna," he added, pointing to a morsel of cricket left poking through lips of his companion at the Explorers Club in New York, which likes to entertain its well-traveled members with exotic culinary adventures.

This news report describes the Explorers Club's annual dinner, when it feeds its members on a delicious feast of tarantulas, maggots and exotic parts of various livestock such as eyeballs, testicles and penis (penes? peni?).

Yet, even though this meal took place in the huge city of Manhattan, many people around the world who live in less urbanized locales eat insects as a regular part of their normal diet.

"We're so fast to make fun or make comments about the way someone talks or the way someone walks, and food is like the last bastion," said Gene Rurka, the Explorers Club's exotic foods expert. "But someone today is living off this."

In fact, raising insects as a food source is a far more efficient way of feeding a protein-hungry world than is farming livestock and other animals.

"I would say in the future our protein source will be different," continued Rurka, comparing the raising of raising insects to the farming of chickens. "I would say we could raise insects faster, get a better source of protein, control the fat content and have a higher nutritional value."

Also read these links for more information about insects as food for humans, including some recipes.


Included with the best science, nature and medical essays published recently on a blog
by the Tangled Bank, issue 58.


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