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Everybody says bugs taste good even if they taste them only once
September 29, 2009 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Insect Sushi Shoichi Uchiyama makes sushi of a different kind. Academic studies have shown insects are rich in nutrition and many are even more nutritionally balanced than meat or fish... In addition, they grow much faster and require less feed than animals and fish, and leftover vegetables are enough to farm many kinds of bugs. They grow in small spaces and don't compete with human beings over food... Recipes inside. (via Scribal Terror)

Yellow Hornet Larvae

Blanch the larvae in boiling water for 30 seconds, cool them off and serve with soy sauce and wasabi (Japanese horseradish). Mr Uchiyama says: "The larvae need to be fresh and the best ones are those that you have just taken from a nest, still moving. Then they are sweet and creamy."

Argentine Cockroach

Cut open shell, scoop out meat and fry with butter. Replace in shell to serve on top of salad. "It has no smell at all, but the texture of tender fish," says Mr Uchiyama.

Hornet or Silkworm Pupae

Fry at a high temperature for a very short time and serve wrapped in slices of "kamaboko" fish paste.
posted by caddis (91 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Paging Mr. Renfield.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


posted by caddis

eponysterical.
posted by orthogonality at 7:15 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never in all my life have I been so glad about the lack of IMG tags.
posted by elizardbits at 7:16 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


See, now I'm going to have to learn all these words in Japanese, so that if I ever go to Tokyo I won't accidentally order this.
posted by RavinDave at 7:18 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mmm, Land Shrimp.
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 AM on September 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


Congratulations on making sushi even less appetizing.
posted by DU at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2009


Dainty little DU can't abide feasting on the raw new flesh.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 AM on September 29, 2009


This is about as appetizing as a burlap sack full of dirty assholes.
posted by The Straightener at 7:28 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Cockroach sushi is horrifying.
posted by molecicco at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2009


"Deep frying is the best way to cook insects," says Shoichi's wife

Deep-frying is the best way to cook everything that you want to taste like a deep-frier. Methinks she is less into her husbands obsession than she claims.
posted by molecicco at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


When environmental concerns are cited in an appeal to get you to eat insects, I think it's time to admit that your species has overbred.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:30 AM on September 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


I would totally, but totally eat this. Bring it on!
posted by the dief at 7:32 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


When environmental concerns are cited in an appeal to get you to eat insects, I think it's time to admit that your species has overbred.

*Puts down his CLT* and stares agape at Joe*

"Next you'll say you hate Mr. Soylent Soda too. Hippie."

* Cricket, Lettuce & Tomato *
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not as bad as natto.
posted by greasepig at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I tried a bite of some inago no tsukudani (from my local tsukudani-ya san here in Tokyo) on rice a few years ago. The taste? Fine. Pretty similar to tsukudani made with little sea insects like tiny shrimp, basically. But... I just couldn't get with it. The crunch of insects in the mouth? Just couldn't get with it.

If I was really hungry, though, yeah, I could handle it.

Now, when I was in Nigeria, in 1980, I used to go to the market and see the huge trays of larvae for sale. Live. Big enamel bowls of 'em, squirming around. Big ones. Absolutely could not bring myself to eat those. No way.

And god, that picture from the Japan Tmes, of a big hornet and some silkworm pupae on top of some curry rice... that is just too disgusting. No. Effin. Way.

Here's a little more on Japan bug-munchin'.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:38 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs an entomophagy tag. When the locusts swarm, you make locust hamburger patties.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:40 AM on September 29, 2009


Waiter, waiter! There's a fly on my sushi!
posted by jonesor at 7:42 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'd probably eat Soylent Green sushi rolls before I'd eat cockroach rolls.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 AM on September 29, 2009


Humans are omnivores, by design/necessity. The selectivity of protein sources based on personal preferences is a luxury.

You'd eat bugs if the alternative was starvation, why won't you eat them if prepared properly?
posted by HyperBlue at 7:47 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Cut open shell, scoop out meat and fry with butter.

Scoop out meat. SCOOP OUT MEAT. I wish to have the memory of this phrase and its context permanently expunged from my consciousness. I will need a steady-handed volunteer, ideally with their own icepick.

A friend once tried to get me to eat fried scorpion onnastick in the market in Kunming. Nothing about that excursion ended well. Also, those flame-hardened skewers are more sturdy than they look.
posted by elizardbits at 7:49 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bugs really aren't that far from crustaceans. I think the main probably is the tiny, tiny amount of meat in each bug.
posted by ignignokt at 7:51 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


why won't you eat them if prepared properly?

I'm just waiting for them to be prepared properly.

I tell ya, though, I dunno what's creeping me out more: the bug sushi pictures in that first link or the bizarro "Flat Belly" ads I'm getting on each page.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:52 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the point at which someone needs to point out that Leviticus sez: crickets OK to eat, lobster not so much.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:54 AM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Like a lot of people, I love shrimp, lobster and all manner of other shellfish. I've eaten snails, squid, conch and some other similar animals. Sometimes raw. While my brain fully understands that these things are no better than a cockroach or a hornet I still feel that eating bugs is something that should only be done if, say, your fighter jet crashes behind enemy lines.

Fortunately, I don't fly a fighter jet and my only enemies are make-pretend internet enemies, so I won't be eating bugs any time soon thank you very much.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I might eat a worm, if properly prepared. Say, at the bottom of a large bottle of tequila.
posted by RavinDave at 7:57 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's all subjective. If we'd grown up eating insects, it would be perfectly normal and even delicious to us. McDonalds would serve cockroach sandwiches. We could just as easily be having a conversation about how disgusting it is to eat smelly animals with fur and horns.
posted by mullingitover at 7:59 AM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Just in case you make that jump someday, RavinDave, here are instructions.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:01 AM on September 29, 2009


I'm up for anything as long as it is cooked and you cannot get any weird parasites from eating it. Live not so much....
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2009


He's doing this all wrong. If he wants his ideas to gain currency, he needs to market this the American way. The Uchiyama Diet. Eat nothing but my bug cuisine and the pounds will fall RIGHT off - guaranteed! Supersize? No thanks, actually, can I get this in supersmall?

You'd eat bugs if the alternative was starvation, why won't you eat them if prepared properly?

If you're going into cannibal territory to make your argument, you're finished.
posted by naju at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would definitely eat these insects. It sounds like they are expertly prepared.

Is there a good place in NYC to find delicious insects?
posted by fuq at 8:06 AM on September 29, 2009


What a bunch of whining pansies.

You'd eat anything if you were hungry enough.
posted by the cuban at 8:07 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fried sounds like the best way to go to me. I'd give it a go, if only to say I had. My business partner's wife likes to munch on fried chicken hearts while watching TV.
posted by Xoebe at 8:10 AM on September 29, 2009


It's all subjective. If we'd grown up eating insects, it would be perfectly normal and even delicious to us. McDonalds would serve cockroach sandwiches. We could just as easily be having a conversation about how disgusting it is to eat smelly animals with fur and horns.

Disagree. Some of us would have that conversation, then another would chime in and say "But have you tried it!?! It's waaaay better than cicada larvae even!" Shocked and in disbelief, all but the most stubborn would try it and ultimately agree.

Objective fact: bacon cheeseburgers taste better than cicada larvae.
posted by molecicco at 8:11 AM on September 29, 2009


I'd eat this. I wouldn't prepare any of these, but if served them, I'd try it.
posted by oddman at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2009


Deep fried crickets are yummy. Except the legs, which can be pokey unless you pull them off.

It's lunch time and this is making me hungry.
posted by zennie at 8:17 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


My wife was in the peace corps in Africa. When she first went she told her host family she was a vegetarian since she didn't want to eat any weird bush meat. Bad choice, what came out instead were deep fried fuzzy caterpillars! Yum!
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:18 AM on September 29, 2009


I had chocolate-covered crickets, worm meatballs, and a bunch of other stuff like that in Washington a few years ago. It was actually pretty good! Pretty sure this would take a LOT of wasabi, though.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2009


I'm not sure I could get past the exoskeletons. I love shrimp and lobster. However, I pull the meat out of the shells first. It really is the thought of teeth breaking through exoskeleton that grosses me out.
posted by onhazier at 8:31 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


In the United States there is a restaurant chain whose menu features arthropods prepared in various styles.
posted by kurumi at 8:38 AM on September 29, 2009


My best friend is Vietnamese, and years of meals at her family's house have habituated me to eating shrimp unshelled, legs and all.

So, one day I'm with my own family at one of those Chinese buffet places, and I pick up a large fried prawn, and take a bite. And my eldest brother, sitting across the table from me, freezes with his fork half way to his mouth, looking at me.

"What?" I say.

"Never. Do. That. Again," says my brother.

"Do what?" I say.

Took a moment for his meaning to fall into place, because I wouldn't have expected that kind of response from someone who'd lived in Asia as a kid and is willing to eat mystery food out of the fridge. But there you are.
posted by zennie at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to imagine chomping in to a cooked cockroach or a spider or something, but it's just making me gag. I think part of the problem is that, while the meat might be very tasty, there's all this... other stuff around it that is not as appealing. Lobster meat is tasty, but I don't need to eat the hard shell or the funky whiskers or even the guts. With a bug, you get all the bad and the good together.

I'm thinking of trying to eat something fuzzy like a tarantula or even a grasshopper with its feelers and it just makes me feel like I'm trying to swallow something while a hair is caught in the back of my throat. Slimier stuff like worms or maggots? That's like the okra stew I ate once that had the consistency of runny snot.

Cockroaches... well, if the meat is of such a consistency that you have to scoop it out I think that would be like trying to eat wet cat food or foie gras, neither of which tempts me very much.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2009


I'm thinking of trying to eat something fuzzy like a tarantula or even a grasshopper with its feelers and it just makes me feel like I'm trying to swallow something while a hair is caught in the back of my throat.

I don't really like to re-live this memory, but you twist off the fuzzy parts (of grasshoppers; I know nothing of eating tarantulas, though some spiders you can pan-fry). So off go the forelegs -- twist! And off goes the head, too -- just not too hard. You want to remove it's spine or whatever the hell it is attached to its head or you have to dig it out. Presto! Salty critter.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:56 AM on September 29, 2009


I had pan-toasted giant ants in Peru and they were delicious. And as a bonus, the heads (which are usually pulled off before cooking) have a fresh, minty taste.

Also had some sort of big insect larvae roasted over a fire which was pretty indistinguishable from shrimp (by which I mean -- yummy!)
posted by straight at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2009


Is there a good place in NYC to find delicious insects?

Yes. Although "delicious" would probably fall under "YMMV" to most.

Pamplona in Manhattan may serve you a grasshopper taco if you order in advance. See this article on exotic foods by one of MeFi's own.
El Globo in Corona will make you a grasshopper taco, and also sells bags of them. Look for the bags of chapulines.
posted by zarq at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would eat mealworms, i think. No legs to have to pul off/eat around/crunch. Wings also do not sound very appetizing. Grubs? maybe, depending on what kind of grubs. I suspect that certain kinds would taste too much like dirt, which is not one of my favorite flavors:

Do all bugs taste like chicken?
posted by annsunny at 9:05 AM on September 29, 2009


I forgot Dos Caminos. They sometimes have grasshoppers on their menu. I've seen Grasshopper Salsa offered.

Also see:
Hotlix for mail order insect candy.
posted by zarq at 9:07 AM on September 29, 2009


Oh, God, I clicked the first link.

The spider! The spider is coming for me! Get it away, get it away!

Those legs are in attack position.

(Why you do this?)
posted by Scattercat at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


You'd eat anything if you were hungry enough.

Not so.

In Consuming Culture: Why You Eat What you Eat, Jeremy MacClancy writes food taboos are so powerful that in some cases people will starve rather than to eat what might be acceptable fare in another society. Also in WWII people under stress starved rather than eat unfamiliar food that only added more stress to them. (Hence the notion of comfort food.)
posted by binturong at 9:13 AM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


No.

I'm sorry, no. Okay, I get it, it's perfectly logical to eat them, if I was starving maybe, blah blah blah, but no. Why? Because it's nasty. Don't ask me why it's nasty I can't tell you really, I was just conditioned that way. I think of myself as a fairly adventurous eater, but I'm swallowing bile right now just thinking about that picture of the giant bug thing and the grubs under it and urgh.

I really am sure that this stuff is delicious, and if someone served it to me without my knowing what it was I might enjoy it, depending more on the texture than anything else. But I simply could not knowingly make myself eat this stuff. Call me reactionary or bourgeois or whatever you like, but no.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 9:15 AM on September 29, 2009


Eponysomethin' ^
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


binturong: " food taboos are so powerful that in some cases people will starve rather than to eat what might be acceptable fare in another society"

I don't know how hungry I'd have to be to eat insects. But I sure hope I never find out.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2009


Don't ask me why it's nasty I can't tell you really, I was just conditioned that way.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 12:15 PM


Heh.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2009


Metafilter: a burlap sack full of dirty assholes.

Well, someone had to do it.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:26 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have this great theory that I should feed my kids this stuff when they're growing up so that they will be totally prepared for the

FUTURE

in which I'm pretty sure everyone will eat insects and stuff. So they'll have the advantage because hey, no gag reflex. And they'll know how to cook them. They'll be the master chefs of 2031.
posted by kathrineg at 9:27 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you starve to death because you're too squeamish to eat a damned bug then you are a weak and a liability to the gene pool so I can only hope that you didn't reproduce before you died.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know how hungry I'd have to be to eat insects. But I sure hope I never find out.

Do any of you want to tell him, or should I?
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've had chapulinas tacos at the local Mexican eatery here in Somerville, Tu y Yo (that place is fantastic, by the way, all you Boston-area folks should check it out if you like Mexican and haven't been there). I found it kinda boring and just crunchy, to be honest.

I did go to Thailand this summer and I'm pretty disappointed I didn't get around to at least thinking about trying some of the bugs they eat there...I'm not sure I'd have the balls to do it, but I'd like to think I could.

My philosophy is: if other people eat them for pleasure, then there must be something to it--and if I can get past the perceived grossness, then maybe there is a rich culinary experience waiting to be had.
posted by dubitable at 9:30 AM on September 29, 2009


If you starve to death because you're too squeamish to eat a damned bug then you are a weak and a liability to the gene pool so I can only hope that you didn't reproduce before you died.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on September 29 [+] [!]


That's not only not very nice but also inappropriate.

We can eat their children.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:32 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


We can eat their children.

Yuck! Have you seen where kids have been? I vote for feeding their kids to the bug livestock flocks.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Mrs. and I went to Okariba in Kyoto a few weeks back during our trip and had both the bee larvae and locusts (among other foods considered 'bizarre' by American standards).

I have to say, everything was rather good despite it being the first time either of us had consumed members of the insect realm; in fact, we'd both do it again if we found ourselves coming back to Japan.
posted by vanadium at 9:51 AM on September 29, 2009


I think if the presentation was done a little better people would care a whole lot less. Seeing a huge maggot in your rice-ball isn't the most appetizing thing in the world. But if the maggot was ground up into a paste or minced I can see people being less squeamish.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:52 AM on September 29, 2009


Also had some sort of big insect larvae roasted over a fire which was pretty indistinguishable from shrimp (by which I mean -- yummy!)

I love seafood, and I heard that eating cicadas was dangerous to anyone who suffers from a seafood allergy - so I already have cicadas=lobster stuck in my head. I would definitely eat a roasted spider if it were big enough to remove the shell (haven't managed to enjoy eating shells). I've had roasted grasshoppers - but they just tasted like un-chewable grass. I'd definitely try the roasted larva if the insides firmed up like shrimp meat - especially if I had melted butter on the side. Cockroaches? No. freaking. way.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2009


Do all bugs taste like chicken?

More like shrimp.
posted by caddis at 10:27 AM on September 29, 2009


Worms and larvae and crickets are one thing, but spiders?



Seriously, spiders?!??!?
posted by Patapsco Mike at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2009


So many of yall are a bunch of wussies.

I have eaten roasted grasshopper before - a bit crunchy-tough, but not too bad, actually.
I can almost guarantee that most Mefites alive today will be eating insects as a regular, known part of their diet before 20 years is out. There's just no other source of protein left to expand into, population-wise (except perhaps, people slower or stupider than you).
posted by HalfJack at 10:57 AM on September 29, 2009


What is a burger too good for people now?
posted by stormpooper at 11:08 AM on September 29, 2009


I ate fried grasshoppers, fried June bugs and fried ants from a stand in Bangkok. Originally, my plan was to take a few photos of the fried bugs, but a local approached me and told me he'd buy some if I'd sit down and eat them with him.

All three 'dishes' were tasty, and I got the chance to sit down and talk to a local about politics, economy and life in Thailand for an hour or so. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
posted by syzygy at 11:10 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


The grasshoppers and ants I had tasted pretty decent, but then most stuff tastes decent with enough chocolate on it.
posted by caddis at 11:11 AM on September 29, 2009




What is a burger too good for people now?

For most of the people of earth? Yes.
posted by HalfJack at 11:12 AM on September 29, 2009


I would definitely eat insects if properly prepared and told they were delicious.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:12 AM on September 29, 2009


Waitperson, would you ask the chef to scramble me a couple of eggs instead? Make that hens' eggs. Thanks.
posted by Cranberry at 11:35 AM on September 29, 2009


so it was a long time ago, traveling in Zaire (hey I said it was long ago) and we stopped at a small market in the middle of nowhere. It seemed to be set up around this big earthy mound. I take a look around, a few people seem to be selling heaps of brown rice. Fine, good... Then there are some people with trays full of dirt, each containing some white things that look like dumplings, or maybe peeled potatoes. I go for a closer look, and a woman nudges her tray, and all the dumplings start squirming around. That's when I figure it out - it's a termite mound, the piles of rice are actually termites, the dumplings are huge larvae, and everyone around me is having a good chuckle at their excellent game of gross out the foreigner. I politely declined, and they offered me a few larvae roasted on a stick. They said it was really good, but I just didn't have the appetite, I guess. It was probably spoiled by the smoked monkey strapped to the back of a bicycle I had just snapped a picture of. The market seemed to be doing pretty good business, actually.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2009


Had marinated crickets at a Sushi restaurant.
Very yummy.
Highly recommended.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:44 AM on September 29, 2009


Considering the outlook for global fish stocks by 2020... this is just a likely move in our desperate will to survive... and more importantly... make money.

We reap what we sow.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:49 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just another one of those people who'd have no problem eating the insides of bugs, but would prefer to avoid the outsides. Take away the head, legs, wings and carapace, and I'll eat the meaty bits. (I'm sure there are people here who think I'm a fool because I've just rejected the tastiest parts of the bug. Fine, you can have mine.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2009


I had cricket taquitos at a very nice interior-Mexican restaurant here in Austin this last Sunday evening. They were really, really tasty; nutty and nicely seasoned. Now I feel even better about the experience. Thanks!
posted by theperfectcrime at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2009


I totally wish I could find some well-prepared insects here - heck, I would prepare them myself if I knew a good source of raw materials. And I kind of covet the crunchiness that seems to be icking out so many here. Sawagani is one of my favorite things to eat at Japanese restaurants - like extra-crunchy crab-flavored popcorn.

Bring on the tasty arthropods.
posted by Knicke at 12:17 PM on September 29, 2009


Seriously, spiders?

Roll on down to Skuon, Cambodia some time and check out the deep-fried tarantulas.

I'm also grossed out by this, even though I know bugs are nutritious, know they probably wouldn't taste all that bad, but there's something so primal about the western aversion to insects. When did that arise, I wonder? Surely paleolithic Europeans must've eaten bugs without being dared by classmates to do so.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:35 PM on September 29, 2009


Roll on down to Skuon, Cambodia some time and check out the deep-fried tarantulas.

With apologies to boo_radley: YES I AM A SEXY SPIDER WHO LIKES whoa, timeout.

...but there's something so primal about the western aversion to insects.

There is a theory that this is an evolved trait. Those who developed a sense of aversion insects, and especially to the feel of small legs or probosci on our limbs, may have been more likely to avoid potentially deadly insect-borne illnesses.
posted by zarq at 1:05 PM on September 29, 2009


Oops.

....aversion TO insects....

....is an aversion to proofreading an evolved trait, I wonder?....
posted by zarq at 1:07 PM on September 29, 2009


I love seafood, and I heard that eating cicadas was dangerous to anyone who suffers from a seafood allergy - so I already have cicadas=lobster stuck in my head.

My allergist told me that, too. I'm allergic to shellfish.
posted by zarq at 1:12 PM on September 29, 2009


This reminds me of a conversation I had with my kyouto-sensei. "Sometimes," he said, "we Japanese eat things because they are interesting, not because they are good."
posted by betweenthebars at 1:44 PM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


So if you eat bugs, and you're messy and leave your dirty dishes out, do your dishes refill themselves with more bugs? Set your dinner dishes out at night, go to bed, wake up and there's breakfast!
posted by jamstigator at 2:49 PM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'll stick with my low-on-the-food-chain seafood. sardine, anyone?
posted by mlo at 2:54 PM on September 29, 2009


I had fried scorpion on a stick in Beijing one time. It was pretty good, tasted a lot like, well, fried prawns (shrimp). In my defense, I was quite drunk at the time.
posted by nonspecialist at 3:21 PM on September 29, 2009


I'm not sure I could get past the exoskeletons.

Come on, your teeth can't be that feeble. I'm sure they're up for the job.

*crunch
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 PM on September 29, 2009


Shrimp, crabs, crayfish and lobsters are (as others have said) basically huge bugs that live in the water and have harder shells. (Phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Crustacea, technically) If you met an insect that large on land, you'd be fleeing in horror.

I've eaten Chinese fried shrimp with the legs and heads still on. I don't eat the heads, but that's because they are mostly empty and mushy (shrimp guts?).

As for why Europeans don't eat insects, crustaceans were close at hand (Mediterranean and Northern European societies being relatively close to large bodies of water) and maybe insects just don't grow big enough in a temperate climate to be worth bothering with.

I read Pliny the Elder's Natural History (large parts of which read as "the first Greek or Roman person to eat it" lists) and I do not recall anything about eating insects. Pre-Christian, so it can't be Old Testament influence.
posted by bad grammar at 5:22 PM on September 29, 2009


I had a dream once in which my teeth fell out and became scrabble tiles which I then fed into a strange machine that communicated across distances by an unknown means; its messages were cryptic and horrible, and I woke sweating.

Next time I have a dream like that, I'm sure the crunch of bugs' exoskeletons will join the horrible tooth-loss trope to drive me another mile towards the brink.

or spiders oh god
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:24 PM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hey, I'll try anything once. Anyone know if there's a place around DC that serves tasty creepy crawlers?
posted by Riki tiki at 9:30 PM on September 29, 2009


Riki tiki, I think you can get tacos de chapulines at Oyamel in Penn quarter.
posted by bluefly at 5:51 AM on September 30, 2009


Odd, the taquitos actually sound like a good way to eat bugs, to me. Also, I think that dim sum style shrimp balls, with some sort of larvae or insects instead of shrimp, might be quite palatable.

Locusts, I think, have real potential. I've handled really big ones I found in Africa. Amazingly beautiful creatures, and they look like they would be quite shrimp-like, once you remove the crunchy bits. Oh, to be clear, by "big", I mean the length of my rather large hands. First one I saw was dusty and dull colored, and sitting so still I thought surely it must be a plastic toy, lost and forgotten. Then it moved. The one I have the best photos of was very bright colored, but smaller.
posted by Goofyy at 12:37 AM on October 2, 2009


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