If you have ever read the book How to Eat Fried Worms, you may have been grossed out by the thought of eating insects. However, there are many cultures that find it not only socially acceptable, but also very inexpensive and appetizing. Some people in third-world countries even make eating bugs a part of their everyday lifestyle. In fact, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the global population consumes insects on a regular basis. Read on to discover some amazing traditions having to do with swallowing down creepy critters a practice known as entomophagy.
In the nation of Algeria, many people consume desert locusts. To add extra flavor to the bugs they are soaked in salt water and roasted in the sun. Desert locusts are especially valuable to the poorest Algerians who do not have enough money for other foods.
Aborigines of Australia really take a liking to Bogong moths. They find these unique bugs in caves and in crevices of rocks. In order to remove the wings, legs, and heads of the moths, the Aborigines cook them in hot ashes and sand and sift them through a net. Apparently the bodies of these moths must be delicious if they are worth all of that effort.
Some cultures in Africa eat termites and caterpillars for nutrition. The legs and wings are removed before the bugs are fried. These insects are considered to be delicacies.
Caterpillars contain many essential nutrients and vitamins lacking in many other types of foods. In fact, children in Africa may eat flour with dead caterpillars mixed in to ensure they receive proper nutrition. Pregnant women and those suffering from anemia also benefit from the consumption of caterpillars.
A few species of caterpillars consume toxic plants. Therefore, people must remove the poisonous insides of the caterpillars before eating them. This can be done by squeezing the caterpillar's body or by removing the guts with a small stick. Then, any spines or hairs are removed from the skin. Finally, the skins are roasted in the sun and seasoned to taste.
Some areas of Mexico serve insect entrees at restaurants. These entrees usually start at about $25 each. One of the most popular dishes in Mexico is made up of butterfly larvae.
In the country of Thailand, many insects are eaten as deep-fried delicacies. Some of these bugs include crickets and cicadas. Giant water bugs are usually cooked into chili and served with rice. Termite eggs are also a delicacy and are often cooked in soup. The Thai people often cook red ant larvae into flavorful salads called yams. In some primitive cultures in Thailand, spiders are eaten live. I have an image in my head of the itsy-bitsy spider coming up the spout again.
Wealthy Colombians will sometimes feast on leafcutter ants. These creatures can be ordered at restaurants or served as a nice home-cooked meal. œHoney, the boss is coming over for dinner tonight. Let's serve a nice nest of ants.
As gross as some of these dishes may sound, scientists predict that because of the growing population, eating bugs may be one of the only ways to avoid worldwide famine. Which means we may someday be ordering chocolate-covered grasshoppers at restaurants and buying fried termites at grocery stores. Actually, insects are a great source of protein and carbohydrates. They also cost a lot less to raise and take up a lot less space than other animals such as cattle.
If you have the desire to eat insects to become closer to nature, make sure you wash and cook them first. This will reduce the chance that you may chomp into a poisonous substance the bug may have consumed. However, if you live near agriculture that uses pesticide on a regular basis, do not eat bugs that live nearby. The pesticide cannot be washed off the insects, and it can be toxic to humans. Your safest bet is to order creepy crawlies from areas that do not use pesticides. Finally, do not eat insects that are dead when you find them. It is better to find live insects and cook them.