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Insects as food

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(Note: This thread was split from Anyone ever made grasshopper pie? -- The Chowhound Team)

Is there a recipe with real grasshoppers? They're edible insects. Insects are such an unexplored food group. They're there for the grabbing!! :-D

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  1. No, no real grasshoppers in grasshopper pie, although you could probably grind them up for the crust base.

    "Unexplored food group" yes, insects are, and they will stay that way with me. No fried grasshoppers, chocolate covered ants, bees, scorpions, etc. That's ok.;-)

    7 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      I have read that imported grasshoppers (from Mexico) have high levels of lead.

      1. re: EricMM

        Oh goody, well, that seals the deal. I guess you can tell from the turn of this thread and the snail/slug fest thread that I'm not much for that type of creature on my plate.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          They do raise grasshoppers and other insects as food. Those should be free of contaminants because they're fed carefully prepared food. I grant you there 's yuck factor if you're not used to eating insects (and I am not), but if supermarkets were to sell bags of dried bugs, people could sprinkle them in soups, stews; mix them in cakes, breads.

          If people are willing to eat slaughtered cows and chickens and pigs (which are warm blooded and cuddly), why not eat insects?

          1. re: icecone

            Animals that are closer to me on the evolutionary scale are much more appealing to eat (to me) than others that are much further away. I guess it's just a familiarity thing, although I certainly like some odd types of seafood. I actually like insects as the creatures that they are, generally speaking, and used to keep bees. I would never consider eating bees, as I have great respect for them.

            There are a number of cultures that happily include insects in their diets, along with grubs, bats, other local fauna and animals we normally keep as companions in the Western world. I guess it's all about exposure and what you're accustomed to.

            This thread has come far and away from grasshopper pie, which is my preferred choice of grasshopper.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              When my youngest sister was little (in the 1970s) I made grasshopper pie for my family, as it was quite the rage then. My father told her it was made out of grasshoppers but she had to eat some to be polite, and she started crying. We all got a laugh out of it, and I think then he told her the truth.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I seem to remember a story from Sam F. that was about a series of guinea pig feast held in his honor.

                1. re: morwen

                  Yup, guinea pig or cuy is on the menu in Peru. It is available in some supermarkets in NYC, or so I've heard. I'm not sure if I'd try it, since I was raised in a culture that keeps guinea pigs as companions, rather than raised for food, but apparently it's pretty tasty.

                  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/1...

      2. In the Netherlands, a cooking school in Wageningen has put insects in its curriculum. The links below are to an article and a slideshow:

        http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+N...

        http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Netherl...

        1. I completely lost it in Cambodia when someone approached me with a basket of enormous deep-fried spiders. It took me ages to be able to eat squid and crabs because their legginess reminds me of spiders, but to find out that some people willingly eat them was more than my brain could handle. (and I know spiders aren't insects!)

          I have eaten locusts and grasshoppers though; a lot like eating the tail of a deep-fried prawn, though without the juicy meaty bit that makes a prawn a prawn.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gembellina

            "tail of a deep-fried prawn, though without the juicy meaty bit that makes a prawn a prawn."

            Put that way, it sounds pretty good! And you are correct about spiders not being insects, same phylum Arthropoda , different classes.

          2. Here are some grasshoppers and the pupae of the silk worm all set to be put on the grill, somewhere in China. Noter even more goodies onthe right hand side of the page...

            http://orzz.me/image/%E6%98%8E%E6%98%...

            3 Replies
            1. re: scoopG

              Al Roker of NBC munched on either grasshopper or scorpion on a stick, while in Beijing for the 2008 summer olympic games. His comment on the taste and texture was favorable, IIRC.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I've had scorpions and they are delicious - simply fried.

                Edit:

                Here are photos of scorpions from a store in Hangzhou:
                http://www.dianping.com/shop/2701969/...

                1. re: scoopG

                  My avatar little veggo eats scorpions like they were pistachios, at the house in Mexico. Good kitty.

            2. My grandfather ate locusts as a kid, most likely sauteed with onions, tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. I've had Thai fried crickets myself. Oaxacans might make those same chapulines into a taco.

              1. Kenneth, a young student from Hong Kong studied here in England for several years, he told me of his

                Grandmothers insistence on making him aware of things you can eat in a famine and how to prepare them

                Of the insect kind frying in oil seemed to be good (if you have oil)

                A knowledge of wild roots and plants as well.

                Nothing sensational, just a way of surviving.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Naguere

                  The original Survivorman! (You probably don't get the show in England? He eats bugs and roots, lights campfires with mirrors and twigs, etc) My husband is addicted to that show, and if there is ever a famine, he'd better come through for me.