Thursday, June 20, 2013

Entomophagy Recipes

Over at Janet Greger’s blog ( ) I guest posted about why we should eat bugs. They are a highly nutritious, sustainable, safe food source that Americans, for the most part, haven’t embraced yet. But think back ten years ago. Were you a sushi eater or did the thought of raw fish turn your stomach? Fast forward, and today towns of any size at all have at least one sushi bar.

Bug cuisine could be in your future, too!

Why is it that we haven’t embraced entomophagy before now. After all, over 2,000,000,000 people use insects (oh, and worms, too, but that’s another column) as a primary component of their diet. From larva to adult, people relish bugs. No, I don’t mean pickle them, but I suppose you could. Hmm.

I blame Hollywood for the bias against entomophagy.

In so many scifi movies, insectoid creatures are the bad guys trying to take over Earth. I suppose they think it’s easier to accept killing something so removed from us taxonomically. Whatever. Between Hollywood and all the pest removal commercials I suppose it makes sense that we’d view insects as enemies and not a food source. When did you last see a movie when cows tried to take over the world or a pest service offered to remove unwanted pigs from your house?

But, seriously, the world is projected to be over 9 billion people by 2050, so we will have to double our food supply. We cannot feed that many people with a mammalian-based food source. People are already starving all over the world.

So, to get you convinced, I am including some articles/books to read and some recipes for you to try. Alli Wesson, my “Dinner is Served” protag is doing her bit. In book two of the series, Prime Rib and Punishment, Alli directs her cooking school students to create a tasty insect-based dish for any part of the meal--appetizer to dessert. This doesn’t go over well with Head Chef Fournier. But Alli confronts him in one of their legendary clashes that supports the police’s notion she must have killed him. She just wanted to bring the school into the 21st century. Sheesh!

Anyway, crickets and grasshoppers are touted as “gateway bugs” to get you started with an insectoid cuisine. But branch out. Be like Alli. Try something out of your comfort zone. More bug recipes are on a page (right hand column) on this site. Just because “All Recipes” and “Cooking Light” don’t have bug recipes--yet--don’t let that deter you.

These two recipes from the Iowa State University Entomology club were featured on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. Now how respectable is that???

Chocolate Chirpie Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 12-ounce chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted crickets

Preheat oven to 375. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and insects, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Mealworm Fried Rice

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. chopped onions
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 c. minute rice
  • 1 c. cooked mealworms

Scramble egg in a saucepan, stirring to break egg into pieces.
Add water, soy sauce, garlic and onions. Bring to a boil.
Stir in rice. Cover; remove from heat and let stand five minutes.

If you have a favorite bug recipe, or if this whole idea just bugs you, leave a comment. Bon appétit!

Books about Edible Insects

-Man Eating Bugs by Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio

-Eat-A-Bug Cookbook by David George Gordon

-Creepy Crawly Cuisine by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, Ph.D.

-Entertaining with Insects by Ronald L. Taylor

List of edible insects

The Food Insects Newsletter

Native Americans Edible Insects Page

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