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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:02 PM

Filet of Preying Mantis? Sauteed Earwig?

from YES! Magazine:


Edible Insects: Gross-Out or Global Food Solution?
Cultural attitudes toward food tend to change slowly. But as we struggle to feed a growing population, insects present a remarkably plentiful source of nutrition.

by Dawn Starin
posted Feb 19, 2013



A street vendor in Bangkok sells a variety of insect foods. Photo by Dawn Starin.


Over the past few years, reality TV has often used insect meals as a gross-out test or punishment. On the Late Show with David Letterman, the Mexican film actor Salma Hayek explained that she found insects quite tasty. Upon hearing this, many viewers were apparently appalled.

Why do some people find insect eating normal and others—most notably Americans north of Mexico and Europeans—find it repulsive? The simplest answer is that “food” is a culturally specific concept. An insect-eating society teaches its children to eat insects. People who do not grow up with that custom may find it hard to imagine. Such cultural differences often have a geographical and economic basis. In general, there are fewer edible insects in temperate climates, and therefore it may have been inefficient in terms of time and energy to incorporate insects into the diet. Quite simply, it wasn’t worth it. But times are changing, and so are diets.

Our earliest primate ancestors were insectivores, and our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, famously dine on termites that
 they fish out of narrow tunnels
 in mounds, using rudimentary handmade tools. Insect eating, or entomophagy, is an age-old human practice. In Leviticus 11:22, among the laws codified and observed by the Israelites between 3,500 and 2,500 years ago, it is stated that “even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kind, and the bald locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind.” Pliny wrote that beetle grubs (now thought to have been the larvae of stag beetles) were so prized that they were fed on meal to fatten them up and enhance their flavor. And the German explorer Heinrich Barth, in his 1857 Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa, wrote that people who ate locusts could “enjoy not only the agreeable flavor of the dish, but also take a pleasant revenge on the ravagers of their fields.”

Barth was not alone in considering insects "agreeable." Over time and across continents, entomophagy was not just a behavior taken up as a last recourse by poor and starving people. In some countries, like Thailand, demand for edible insects has increased as living standards improved. And in Mexico around the city of Taxco, the beginning of the jumiles, or stink bug, season is heralded by a great festival, the Día del Jumil, with the crowning of the Jumil Queen. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/insect-foods-gross-out-or-global-food-solution



9 replies, 916 views

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Reply Filet of Preying Mantis? Sauteed Earwig? (Original post)
marmar Feb 2013 OP
htuttle Feb 2013 #1
X_Digger Feb 2013 #5
Warpy Feb 2013 #2
longship Feb 2013 #3
Warpy Feb 2013 #6
longship Feb 2013 #7
OceanEcosystem Feb 2013 #4
JI7 Feb 2013 #8
wickerwoman Feb 2013 #9

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:04 PM

1. Most bugs are too sour

I suppose you could add some honey...

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Response to htuttle (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:46 PM

5. Most that I've had were too bitter, so were drenched in hot / sour / sweet.

Probably the best tasting that I've had is a patty made from ground mealworms. A packet of ranch dressing dry mix mixed in, then fried like a burger.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 08:11 PM

2. There is a whole cuisine built around insects in Thailand

and fly eggs were a delicacy in Aztec cuisine and still are in parts of Mexico.

I've had fried grasshopper and it wasn't bad!

Just don't try to feed me liver.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:01 PM

3. "I've had fried grasshopper and it wasn't bad."

But the damned legs get caught between your teeth!

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:37 PM

6. You pick the legs and wings off

The good part is the part that goes splat when you step on them. It firms up nicely, has a vaguely nutty flavor.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:40 PM

7. Now you tell me!

And I thought it was nature's dental floss.


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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:36 PM

4. If the insects are cooked at a high enough temperature, I suppose the germs are killed. n/t.

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:42 PM

8. some vegetarians are as grossed out at the thought of eating chicken, cow, pig etc

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:46 PM

9. Yeah, this:

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