For Dinner Tonight: Bug Soup, Mashed Insects

Sep 22, 2010
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.

What if you could get your daily protein from a food source that's organic, takes up almost no space, is fresh the moment you eat it, and is good for garden composting?

Sounds like something from the future. Or a factory. But it's not. In fact, it's something you're very familiar with. Here's a hint: this particular source of protein is known to sting, bite, and suck blood from humans.

Sauteed silkworms, anyone? (Photo: Blueberry87/Creative Commons)

Yes—it's an insect. (Or insects, to be exact—many varieties are edible.) And they're excellent in cuisine.

At least that's what Phil Ross, a San Francisco-based chef and artist, will tell you. And in 20 years of eating bugs himself, he's gathered a few supporters along the way.

Ross has infused his entire cuisine with the wings, bodies, legs and shells of insects, from a mezcal and agave worm cocktail to a tasty ceviche made with jicama, papaya, sweet potato, jalapeño and crickets.

The New York Times profiled Ross this week, detailing the insect adventures of a group of diners in Brooklyn, whose responses ranged from elated to nauseated. Having traveled globally and seen insects eaten nonchalantly in other cultures, Ross thinks much of the hesitation and fear comes from America's irrational taboo for all things insect-related.

As soon as people taste the insects in his meals, "they realize that the flavor is actually really good, all the other stuff just goes out the window very fast, and a whole lot of other things start entering," Ross told the Times. "Transgression of one taboo leads to all kinds of other possibilities.”

Read the full article here.

Photo: Blueberry87/Creative Commons via Flickr

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