Entomophagy

bugs-08Last week in my Bugs class (one of the U of A Humanities Seminars, actually titled What’s Bugging You: Insects and Culture) we studied entomophagy (eating insects).  I know my daughter ate fried crickets on a beach in Cambodia (or maybe Vietnam).  And a number of years ago my brother had heard that there was a restaurant in L.A. that served fried crickets, so for the experience, when he was in town, he went to the Typhoon Restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport.  Thinking that if you ordered chicken you would get two side dishes, such as French fries and a veggie, he assumed the same would happen when you ordered crickets.  Not so.  He got a large plate of crickets.  He said, Problem was, they weren’t very crispy — kind of mushy and gray. Didn’t taste particularly good either — I would have expected some spices or something.  Their menu shows spices.  Perhaps the recipe changed.

Insects
SILK WORM LARVAE                  10.00
stir-fried, soy, sugar, white pepper
SINGAPORE-STYLE SCORPIONS   12.00
shrimp toast
TAIWANESE CRICKETS              11.00
stir-fried, raw garlic, chile pepper, asian basil

Back to my class.  Here are some of the points brought up:

There are no words equivalent to ‘entomophagy’ in the languages of the many ethnic groups that practice insect consumption, simply because these peoples never distinguished between insects and other varieties of food.

There are 1,462 recorded species of edible insects.  Likely there are thousands more that simply have not been tasted.

Quick nutrition facts:

  • 100 grams of crickets contain: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat
  • 100 grams of ground beef: 288.2 calories, 23.5 grams protein, 21.2 grams of fat!

Conversion efficiency:

  • House crickets fed a diet of equal quality to the diet used to rear conventional livestock [grass and grains?] show a food conversion twice as efficient as pigs and broiler chicks, four times that of sheep, and six times higher than steers

Certainly we would never eat bugs!

  • The FDA regulates the amount of insects, insect parts or eggs that are permissible in food
  • A package of frozen broccoli may legally contain no more than 50 aphids and a can of mushrooms may contain up to 24 mites.

More examples:

  • Canned sweet corn – 2 or more 3 mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments, the aggregate length of insects or insect parts exceeds 12 mg in 24 pounds
  • Citrus fruit juices – 5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml
  • Chocolate and chocolate liquor – average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
  • Peanut butter – average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
  • Wheat flour – average of 150 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
  • Frozen broccoli – average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams

GPT-THPFAM0618 - © - PATRICK FORGETHere is a photo of an evening market in Thailand selling grilled insects – silkworms, grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets.

This blog has lots of info on entomophagy, as well as recipes:

http://themeatymatters.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/grasshopper-tacos-with-fried-tarantula-on-the-side/

This web site has beautiful photos of people eating bugs (such as the one at the top): http://www.asa-agency.com/en/-/galleries/comer-insectos

Bon appetit!

The ” Wish We Had Acres ” Farm

with chickenThis past weekend my daughter had a “farm” birthday party for the two oldest kids (now 4 and 7) at my cousin’s acre of animals in Phoenix – seven goats, three heirloom turkeys, three ducks, one rabbit, and dozens of chickens, which the kids loved to catch and hold.  (That’s my granddaughter, the “expert” in chicken handling, demonstrating.)

farm 019Lots of parents came too, so we could enforce the rule for the kids not to enter a pen without an adult.  Then my daughter distractedly  left her two-year-old in the pen with the turkeys!  He was not happy, as the turkeys were almost as tall as him.  (See the photo of my cousin’s husband holding one of the turkeys for the kids to pet.)

With chocolate cake and soda, the kids had lots of energy to run around like crazy.  (Photo of the middle the ganggrandchild, with his “gang”.  They used the pile of hay bales for their hideout.  In hand are apples, as the kids had been bobbing for them.  The delighted turkeys got the half-eaten ones.)

My cousins purchased a Great Pyrenees after a neighbor’s dog got in and killed six chickens the night that they had moved in, and subsequent farm 001kills by a coyote and a fox.  The huge dog was marvelous with the kids.

The Great Pyrenees is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian dog.

My cousin’s blog is
www.wishwehadacres.com

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3 Responses to “Entomophagy”

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