Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

July 8, 2013

Bug cuisine

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a report in May which provides a comprehensive assessment of insects as food for humans and livestock. In case you didn’t know it, “entomophagy” refers to the consumption of insects by humans. Animals that eat insects are referred to as “insectivores.”

The title of the FAO report is “Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security.” The report estimates that, by 2050, there will be nine billion people on the planet and makes the understatement “...We need to find new ways of growing food.” In addition to researching new ways to induce humans to eat more crickets and such, they are exploring new ways of using insect protein to feed livestock, farmed fish, and poultry. I guess this means that, in the future, even strict carnivores will be getting the benefit of bugs.

The report also states that among other benefits, “...insects take up little space, can be raised on waste, and research indicates they emit few greenhouse gases...they can be nutritious, with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content...” Gee, the more you read about bugs, the more appealing they become, right?

A noted entomologist (bug scientist) at the American Museum of Natural Science named Louis Sorkin is a proponent of bug-eating and he says, “You have to get people to, I guess, swallow it here in the Western part of the world.” (Pun intended, I’m sure.)

He continues, “I think most people here probably don’t like insects, because they look like insects. But if you cook the insects, dry the insects, and grind them into flour, more people would consume it.” Beetles account for the most commonly eaten group of insects and Sorkin says, “I happen to like more the immature beetles, the grubs. They’re softer. They don’t have the exoskeleton and they are more flavorful, but to each his own.”

Mr. Wikipedia informs that, Entomophagy can be divided into two categories: insects as a source of nutrients and insects as condiments.” Well, who knew? Reminds me of that old gag where a diner asks the waiter what are flies doing in his soup and the smart-aleck waiter replies, “It looks like the breaststroke to me, Sir.” In Mr. Sorkin’s world the answer would probably be, “Why, they are the condiments, Sir.”

Believe it or not, about two billion people around the world consume insects as part of their traditional diets but I guess it is fair to say the fad has not quite caught on in the Western World. There are about 1,400 known species of arthropods, including arachnids, that are edible to humans. Some of the most popular varieties eaten around the world are slugs, crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, various beetle grubs and larvae, caterpillars, scorpions, and tarantulas.

So where am I going with this semi-disgusting rant? You will never catch me dining on insects and arthropods — no matter how much pressure to do so comes from the United Nations, noted entomologists, and the two billion bug-eaters around me!

Wait a minute — come to think of it, I already am a bug-eater of sorts and perhaps you are also. Did you know that the arthropod family not only contains arachnids (spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks) and myriapods (centipedes and millipedes), but also various crustaceans? That’s right crustaceans — as in crab, lobster, and shrimp. How I love those critters! In fact, I made The Little Woman (she does not like that name) and I a big pot of arthropod bisque just last night. And I don’t care if you call them crayfish, crawdads, or mudbugs, you can’t beat a big old crawfish boil dinner.

Another of my favorites from the creepy-crawly genre is escargots. These are just plain old snails with a fancy French name. Whatever — when you scampi them up in tons of garlic butter and mushroom caps and then sop up the juice with garlic toast, you have got some mighty fine eating.

Talking about eating this stuff reminds me of my dear-departed sister-in-law, CeCe. She just would not eat any kind of fish or seafood, and the thought of eating crawfish or snails absolutely disgusted her. “I’m not eating anything that leaves a snotty trail across the driveway or lives in the drainage ditch out back!”

I’ll now close this slimy rant with a few silly bug riddles. What do you get when you cross a centipede with a parrot? A walkie-talkie! Why are frogs so happy? Because they eat what bugs them! What did one frog say to the other frog? Time is sure fun when you’re having flies!

See ya...

—————

Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Old, new, borrowed, blue

       Dissection of notes found in the pocket of an old suit isn’t easy. Maybe they were scrawled during the lull in a wedding ceremony, or to jog my memory of a joke for later use.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg Spam french fries

    I saw a relatively disturbing video and article on Yahoo which touted making Spam French fires to go alongside your big old ground chuck burger. I just can’t imagine a basket full of these deep-fried cholesterol-loaded sticks, but there they were, bigger than Texas.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Janet Jacobs Dumb and dumber in the blotter

    When it comes to dumb criminals, nothing beats the would-be gang of car burglars who tried to break into a car in Tampa, Florida, this past week.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Belcher, Bob.jpg ‘Change’ — old "buzz word" shows up in our town

    If you pay much attention when you’re driving around town lately (and I really hope that you do — pay attention, that is) you can’t help but admit we’ve seen some “change” as of late. And, contrary to the political connotations that word will forever carry with it now, that “change” we’re seeing is good.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Tinsley Germany present and past

    Last Sunday evening my wife and I stood on the balcony of our apartment in Nuremberg and watched as fireworks lit up the sky.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Where strawberries are king

    In 1949, when Stilwell, Oklahoma’s “Strawberry Festival” was just one year old, crooners were applauded when they cut loose with Dear Hearts and Gentle People.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg My TV is held hostage

    Give me back my TV! The Sunday sports fare today is just pitiful as far as I am concerned. Over the past weeks, my normal sports programs has been rudely preempted by endless hours of Wimbledon tennis, the Tour de France, assorted motor sports, and the nauseating mega-million signing sagas of LeBron James and Carmello Anthony

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Janet Jacobs Thoughts from abroad

    So, with the generosity of Mastercard and warm encouragement of my friends who went with me, I went to Italy on vacation. Not Italy, Texas, the one in Europe.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • deannakirk.jpg For a community that’s hurting

    I think all would agree that our community is hurting right now.
    It seems like some weeks, our quota of tragedy and loss just goes through the roof. This is one of those weeks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Tinsley An inspiring life

    Last week, while Americans prepared their fireworks for the fourth of July, Louis Zamparini quietly slipped the bonds of this earth at the age of 97.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo