Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Expecting Entomophagy

Tonight, the second lecture in the Secret Science Club North series at Symphony Space on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Today's lecture will be by Secret Science Club alumnus Dr Mark Siddall of the American Museum of Natural History. Regular readers of my blog may recall that Dr Siddall presented a lecture on leeches (one of my awesome cousins was able to attend that particular lecture with me that time).

Judging from the teaser post at the SSC Blog, there will be lecture-appropriate munchies available:

In this gourmet talk, Dr. Siddall turns the food chain upside-down and inside-out and asks: What are you eating/what’s eating you? What invertebrates are incredible AND edible? Bring your appetite for science!

My (heh heh) spider sense tells me that the snacks in question won't be lobster or oysters. I'm cool with eating bugs, having dabbled in entomophagy on occasion. Back in 2010, having been nominated for the "Honest Scrap" challenge by all-around good guy and basenji fancier Johnny Pez, I offered this little tidbit:

I have knowingly and willing engaged in entomophagy. The first insect I knowingly ate was a hapless cicada that happened to be resting on a friend's screen door. A bunch of us had been drinking in the backyard. As soon as I said, "Hey, I've read that these things are edible" my friend divined my intention. Anyone familiar with cicadas knows what a racket they can make. Well, this one made a racket, until I bit its head off. I refrained from eating the wings. I would compare the experience to eating a huge celery-flavored M&M, crunchy on the outside, gooey goodness within. Subsequently, I have tried crickets, katydids, and ants (which are tangy). It goes without saying, eating the caterpillar in the mezcal bottle is a no-brainer. If I ever get my ass to the not-so-drouthy antipodes, I will refrain from throwing a weta in the deep-fryer for fear of legal sanction. To anyone "squicked out" by the prospect of eating bugs... you have accidentally done it on a fairly regular basis.

To anyone who scoffs at the idea of eating insects, I'd point out that, if a shrimp crawled out from under your radiator, most people would likely smash it, but because it lives in the ocean, they're willing to pay twenty bucks a pound for it, and it would be delicious. Also, a significant proportion of the world's population consume insects with gusto. I can say with authority that carpenter ants have a not-unpleasant tangy flavor, and crickets a pleasant nuttiness. Bugs ain't bad... though I have yet to start chomping on the stink bugs that I have been known to smash with reckless abandon.


Weird Dave said...

I have heard that grasshoppers are Kosher but locust are not...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

In South Africa's northern province of Limpopo and in its eastern province of Mpumalanga, the stinkbugs are harvested with naked hands and the defensive secretions of the bugs causes a characteristic orange stain.

The stains become a warning...

Laura said...

Hey you!!! :D

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog (I still cannot get into it to continue on blogging)..to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.
It was much appreciated.
My Mum passed away at the end of August so it was hard, .. this first holiday without either of my parents.

I hope that you are keeping well. I keep meaning to stop by but without my own blog up and running.. it seems to always get pushed back. Sorry!

Thanks again,

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I have heard that grasshoppers are Kosher but locust are not...

Something to do with crawling vs leaping, if I recall correctly.

The stains become a warning...

The Cheeto stains are a more dire warning.

My Mum passed away at the end of August so it was hard, .. this first holiday without either of my parents.

My condolences! RIP, Sexy Nonna. Don't worry about not stopping by- you're always welcome, faccia bella.