Food Adventure: Bugs Anyone? Harriette Barker, Ph. D, RN

Free Stock Photo: Close-up of Mexican fruit flies on a grapefruit

 

I do not like creepy-crawly things and cannot stand bugs of any kind.  Growing up in the Caribbean with its wide variety of insects and crawlies, I could never think of any insect or worm as food.  Culturally we are a meat and fish-eating people.  I am not adventurous with food.  I prefer to stick to things that I know.

Many years ago, visiting the island of Tobago, I was encouraged to try some of their meat delicacies such as Agouti, Manicou, Armadillo, and Iguana.  I passed.  I could not imagine them going down my throat.  I am also picky about fish.  I only like those with scales and cannot tolerate shark, or shellfish (allergic).  No shrimp, conch, sea eggs or lobster for me.

With my limited food choices in meat and fish, my eye caught an article in a science magazine about eating bugs.   Apparently, insects like grasshoppers are nutritious, iron rich, and comparable to the nutrients in beef.  They could become an alternative source of inexpensive protein that is good for everyone.  Instead of cattle farms, we would now have insect farms that are more sustainable and friendly to the environment.

Entomophagy is the correct name for eating insects.  There are many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe where this practice is an important part of their diet.  Many westerners are not keen on eating these bizarre foods.  However, they are specialty restaurants who are enjoying a new interest in these foods from their patrons.

Image result for free pictures of insect meals

http://www.phuket.com/magazine/eating-insects.htm

I think of the bugs that grow in the Caribbean, roaches, centipedes, lizards, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, millipedes, and none of them begin to make my taste buds water.  In fact, most of them I cannot tolerate.  I am a fan of bizarre foods, but sometimes I cannot watch the host eating his delicious choices of insects.  I remember one episode where he had a large Louisiana centipede on a plate.  I just ran from the room.

The best eight bugs recommended in an article in the National Geographic are beetles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasp, flies, mosquitoes, water boatmen, backswimmers and stink bugs.  The online magazine alternate daily.com narrowed these down to the three best bugs.  How nutritious are bugs?   They are high in protein, fatty acids such as omega-3s, calcium, and B 12.

Rich in protein and low in fat, Insect Burgers on sale at Jumbo supermarkets in 400 stores across the Netherlands, Stock Photo

Are insects good for your health?  Yes, per the United Nations.  They can help to alleviate world hunger, reduce the risks of anemia, stimulate metabolism, boost the immune system, and are handy in emergency situations.

I do not plan to eat any insects, so I felt good about myself until I came across this information.  Apparently, a lot of our foods have in insect parts.  Peanut butter, tomato ketchup, coffee, packaged food, some red food dyes and chocolate to name a few.  Now I am feeling squeamish.

We have been eating insects since birth.  Before you start gagging, the FDA knows all about it.  They accept that a certain level of bugs in our food is good.  Okay, so what shall I do?  I am thinking of a way to quieten my stomach which is beginning to feel queasy.

I am still curious wanting to find out if there are any entomophagy cookbooks.  I found eat-a-bug and bug-a licious and more.  Such recipes  as Cabbage, Peas ‘n’ Crickets and Bee-LT Sandwich,  may tempt your appetite.  If you are adventurous and looking for food excitement, then you may want to venture into the world of bugs. “If it looks good, eat it,” the host of Bizarre foods encourages us.  Maybe the day is coming when we take his advice seriously.

Interested in bugs cookery you can get a free cookbook at http://cookbook.pestaurant.com/

 

 

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