Eating insects (or bits of insects) appears to be catching on. At my children’s primary school in northern NSW, a few of the kids (and a couple of their parents) have been known to pluck the heads off March flies, squeeze out a sweet, honey-like substance, and scoff it.
Clearly, this is not for everyone. Indeed, many people find it so repellent they can’t even watch. And by all accounts the march flies aren’t too keen either. But it appears fashionable restaurants are getting in on the act too.
Ants, mealworms and wood cockroaches are on the menu at Kylie Kwong’s Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong, according to the Fairfax website Good Food, and now Melbourne chef Matt Stone has teamed up with horticulturist Josh Engwerda to grow, harvest and cook grasshoppers.
From Good Food:
Last week, Stone served up free tastings of edible crickets as part of a boutique cider launch ... “I just put them on the table … and didn’t say anything and people just naturally started eating them. Everyone was really surprised,” he said.
Apparently crickets are traditional street fare in Mexico, and popular in China, Africa and the Middle East too.
If restaurants aren't your thing, and you'd feel more comfortable eating bugs in your backyard, you might want to read this extract from the book Unlearn, Rewild by Miles Olson, on the website Mother Earth News.
Olsen is a big fan of eating small, crawling, jumping things, but does warn that slugs and snails can contain a parasite called the rat lungworm, which can cause meningitis in humans, and should therefore never be eaten raw.
If you really want some slug cooking instructions, you'll find them here, courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage.
By: Simon Webster
First published: November 2013