It is November in Canada, and I need to find insects to eat.
The practice of eating bugs is known as entomophagy—people deliberately picking bugs up and putting them into their mouths, deliberately. We’ve all seen the pictures from Bangkok, Thailand where some of the “street meat” is larvae and deep fried cockroaches. If not, here, have a look, courtesy of Wikipedia:
I like how they added some greenery to make it festive and “appetizing.” It’s not working. Parsley doesn’t dress up mealworm to look like anything edible, in my opinion. All the barbeque sauce in the world won’t make it go down without at least one dry-heave. I get entomophagy is culturally-specific, and it’s learned, and there are various benefits to eating bugs. I read about how bugs are an environmentally-friendly alternative to feeding the world’s booming population filled with disgusting nutritiousness. Awesome. I don’t care.
I’ve swallowed some insects—inadvertently, of course. During one of my runs in the spring, I swallowed two mosquitoes when they flew too far back in my throat to spit out. Or gag and hack out, more accurately. I also don’t know if that statistic about swallowing bugs in your sleep is true. I know I’ve also inadvertently eaten larvae on fruit skin and insect parts in processed foods. I don’t know how I feel about eating something I have no problems killing out of sheer revulsion. Like, picking up its crunchy, oozing carcass and chomping on that mother*cker? Getting insect legs stuck between my teeth?
Did you also know about natural contaminants? Do you want to know about natural contaminants? No? Well, I’m going to tell you about natural contaminants. Because you need to know this.
According to FDA (I don’t have any relevant Canadian resources, so if you have anything more recent, please feel free to keep it to yourself because I am completely squicked out by this), there are acceptable levels of “insect parts” and “insect filth” in our food. It’s not only acceptable, it’s good! The more insect parts, the less insecticide! More protein! Also, throw in some rodent hair because, why not? It’s organic.*
However, a challenge is a challenge, and I have committed to eating a bug. I’m looking for chocolate-covered grasshoppers because I’m thinking I can pretend it’s something else. I‘m not going to love it, and I may vomit. It could be worse, though, as eating a tarantula was the first suggestion.
I’ve found that I can buy chocolate covered grasshoppers at the Gummi Boutique here in Calgary. Only $2.99. $2.99, one bug, one challenge down. Who wants the rest of the box?
*Maybe read this if you never want to eat chocolate again: http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/06/29/how_many_insect_parts_and_rodent_hairs_are_allowed_in_your_food.htm