Bugs, are the new superfood. If you think they are gross you are in the cultural minority.

bugs

There’s a word for it. It’s called entomophagy, and it’s the practice of eating bugs, especially by people.

If you are in the US, you probably just said, “Ewww,” but many cultures eat bugs. Bugs, as food are a cross-cultural experience.

 

In Thailand people enjoy fried insects with beer, similarly to enjoying peanuts at a bar. Northern province big cities snack on fried insects sold from vendors on a cart. Jing Leed, a deep-fried cricket seasoned with Golden Mountain sauce and pepper. Each variety of insects have their own distinct flavor. Favorites include grasshoppers, woodworm, bamboo worm and water beetles.

In Ghana they embrace termites as a way of life. What we detest as a household hazard is a way of survival for Ghanaians. While Ghanaians are busy planting crops in the Spring, heavy rains send termites underground, into homes where they are consumed for their high protein, fat and oils. Many are roasted, fried, or ground into flour for baking.

In Mexico the vermin are unlikely to be found at the cantina because just about everybody has a taste for them. French-fried caterpillars offer a crunch, while ant eggs are saturated in enough butter to satisfy the southern whim of Paula Deen.

In China they are a delicacy. Snacks include all kinds of bugs. Live scorpions and water bugs are fare, whether they are doused in liquor, or soaked in vinegar, they are on the menu. Finer restaurants serve them in their larval stage because they are rich in nutrients.

Brazilians favor queen ants as a popular snack. They were once eaten by poor people, but have risen to a place of prominence. Often their wings are removed, fried, and eaten in chocolate.

Australians haven’t fully caught on to the trend, but native cultures feast on wood eating moth larvae, which reportedly tastes a bit like almonds.

Japanese aren’t fully on board with the idea either, but they are expanding their tastebuds to include cicada, grasshoppers, boiled wasp larvae, and others.

The Netherlands is one of the European nations beginning to crunch on ants in large part to the efforts of Johan Van Dongen. He offers passers-by insects covered in chocolate.

“When  they see the bugs they have already eaten them in chocolate,” says Dongen.  

 

A big advantage of eating bugs is that they are generally a healthier meat. A six-ounce serving of crickets has less than 60% less saturated fat and nearly twice as much B-12 than the same amount of ground beef. You don’t have to sell the people of Madagascar, Thailand, or China on the idea because they already consume bugs in large quantities.

A lot of people eat bugs.

Nearly 2 billion people in the world eat them as cuisine.

You might have eaten a few yourself without knowing, but in the US it still takes some convincing.

In the US eating them is a Fear Factor experience. If you aren’t ready to call them “yummy” you might call them trendy. Cricket flour is already in some sports bars, and flours.

Bitty Flour is using nearly 4,000 crickets to make one cup of flour for it’s “delicious” line of cookies. And, it’s an expensive trend at $10 per bag of cookies, or $20 for 20 ounces of cricket flour.

They are gluten free.

So are Exo sports bars. A little  Exo Protein anyone?

If you want to cut your teeth on the trend Amazon will bring them to your door.

The history of entomophagy is rich and full of bugs. As man evolved hunters and gatherers collected more than edible plants. We learn from what we see and early man saw an abundance of bugs, and animals eating them.  Why not try them? Early humans probably learned which ones were safe to eat by observing the animals in the area. Later, the Romans and Greeks would dine on beetle larvae and locusts. Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about harvesting cicadas.

The roots are deeper than poor people, lack of water, and ancient myths. They are spiritual in origin.

If that’s not enough, let’s get Biblical. In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, writers share guidelines of permitted and forbidden foods. It is important to keep in mind that Old Testament is old school. Rabbits, pigs, pelicans, mice, turtles and weasels are off limits. Picky eaters need not apply because they will not survive. In Leviticus 11:22, it says “Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper”. Bugs are on the menu. Do you think they got antsy? John the Baptist ate locusts and honeycomb in the desert for months at a time. Daniel fasted from meat and wine. He didn’t want to eat what the King served. Did he eat bugs? Signs point to yes. 

Thinking about eating bugs? Remember Johan Van Dongen, the Netherland bug chef? He says, [clickToTweet tweet=”Eating bugs? “Some people scream, ‘Oh, my God!’ But if you do it once, then you do it twice.” ” quote=”Eating bugs? “Some people scream, ‘Oh, my God!’ But if you do it once, then you do it twice.” ” theme=”style6″]

That’s worth a tweet.

Crunch on bugs, or other healthy recipes in the Facebook community. Join the healthy conversation.

Have you met my friends at Caroline and Dale at Culture Weave? They do amazing cross-cultural work to bring people together. Check out their efforts at www.cultureweave.com.

 

Helpful sources:
Travel US News-Countries that Eat Bugs
Wellness Mama