Saturday, May 21, 2011

Try Some of This

You're hearing rock music, or rock-related genres of Christian music in the background, just loudly enough you can still ask, "Wow!  Who's that!?"  Coffee's on.  It's medium roast and a little on the strong side.  I did dark roast a couple years, but it didn't have enough bite.  If the coffee's too bitter, stir in a pinch of salt or two.  There's powdered creamer by the coffee pot, and flavored syrup in the brown suitcase.

Our name implies we're some sort of eating establishment –and a diverse one at that.  You won't find the "ordinary" mainstream North American fare here.  I've got some house specialties, to include my own version of cabbage/onion/pepper kim chee, jalapeno cookies, Cayenne brownies and grasshopper or June bug stir fry.

This time of year, at least in the USA, the bugs are flying around at night, and quite likely collecting on your window screens (I hear some hitting the screens right now, begging to be captured).  Go on out a few times each night with a container and pick June bugs.  Put 'em in the freezer 'til they're frozen and transfer them to a sandwich or small food storage bag.  When you've accumulated a dozen or more, you've got enough for a decent taste and it's time to cook some up –unless you're allergic to shellfish. 

I've read you can boil some bugs for about 15 minutes, and I plan to try it with June bugs some time.  I'd imagine they wouldn't be as crispy as the ways I'm going to tell you about.  Cleaning the June bugs is up to you.  I like to rinse them well in a colander, then dry them.  You can pull off the wing covers, wings and legs if you like, but I've found the discomfort in eating isn't worth all that fine detailed work.  The same goes for just about all but the biggest bugs.

Heat up a dry frying pan and then drop your bugs in.  Stir them almost constantly to keep them from burning.  Dry roast them this way until you're certain they're cooked all the way through, and they've reached a crispness you think you'll like.  Turn off the heat and eat 'em up!  This is about the purest non-wimpy way to eat bugs and experience their true flavors.  June bugs are pretty tasty like this, but for added flavor, try some variations. 

Instead of a dry frying pan, try using a little oil, then tossing your critters in seasoning when they're done.  Try your own favorite blend, or powdered ranch dressing or taco seasoning mix.  Another easy cooking method is to stir fry.  I like bugs stir fried with sweet pickled onions and jalapenos –Mmmmm Mmm!  Good stuff!

So why try eating bugs in the first place?  A couple unarguable reasons are because you can, and bugs are a pretty cheap source for a snack.  They're also quite nutritious when compared to mainstream foods.  I won't go into all that here, since other folks have already posted abundant research on that.  Then there's the man-made global warming crisis.  There's evidence to support eating insects might help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  I'm still skeptical on lots of that stuff.  Eating insects may or may not have a positive environmental impact, but they are a food source we, in the West, have turned our noses up at or overlooked for way too long.

Here's a list of some insects I've tried and will most likely try again: grasshoppers and crickets of many varieties, June bugs, darkling (mealworm) beetles, June bug grubs, tomato worms, stink bugs, bark boring beetle grubs, cranefly larvae, mealworms, lots of different hairless brown and green caterpillars, walking sticks, cicadas, roaches, leaf hoppers, May flies and more.  Give some a try.  They're really, really not as bad as some of you might think!


Paul said...

OK, Lots of wild stuff is called edible. Edible does not necessarily mean "good". I'll tell you if I don't think something tastes good. For example, cicadas taste pretty good, but at least adults have a pretty thick shell. I've not tried the nymphs or freshly-hatched ones. Tomato worms have a green vegetable soup flavor, but eating them takes a bit of getting used to. Imagine popping a thin tube of thick soup in your mouth and biting down on it --POP--

There's more, and feel free to ask!

Paul said...

...and I've tried tent caterpillars. They didn't turn out very good.