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For All Of Your Bug Eating Needs


Welcome to the Bay Area Bug Eating Society's Frequently Asked Questions page. Due to the overwhelming participation in entomophagy, B.A.B.E.S. has noted a few of the more common questions that have been presented. If you do not see the answer to your question here, however, there is NO NEED TO WORRY! Contact Us with your questions. Please read the FAQ first, because I am very busy, and I might not get back to you soon. Now, without further ado...

Q) I would like to know where I can purchase bugs for eating.

In the USA, bugs are not often packaged as food for humans, but there are a few novelty items available from the PLANETSCOTT.COM BUG STORE!

Q) Is it safe to feed bugs to my 4th graders.

It is not the greatest idea to eat raw bugs. Frying them is an easy and tasty way to cook insects. Make sure any bugs you are going to eat are from a trusted source. Make sure to lock up the kids who have lawyers for parents first.

Q) I've been surfing the internet looking for some quick answers to my question and I can't seem to find it so maybe I can get a response from you people. My cousin is the principal of an elementary school and he made a pact with his students that if they could read 1400 books by the end of the year he would do anything they asked him to do. So his students made several outrageous suggestions until finally he agreed to one of them. His students demanded that he eat ten live nightcrawlers in front of them. He of course did not believe the kids could read 1400 books but after tallying the results the three hundred and forty one kids in his elementary school did indeed read 1400 books. He is now faced with the prospect of eating ten live nightcrawlers this next Friday. Any suggestions you people have on the safety of this would be appriciated. My idiot cousin hasn't researched this at all and he's just simply going to swallow the slimy suckers in front of his kids because he's bound by a promise. If you have suggestions help me quick so I can relay the information to him.

It is not the greatest idea to eat raw bugs. They could have parasites. If you would like to safely eat earthworms, soak them for a day (until their digestive track is cleared of soil). Then, sautee them in a frying pan with some garlic and maybe a little lemon. Serve hot.

Q) I read somewhere that black Thailand tarantulas are eaten by natives of that country. Do you have knowledge of this?

Your 6th grade class will be happy to know that I have second hand knowledge of the tarantula-eating customs of some folks living in Thailand. I met this group of people on safari in the Khao Yai National Park. They had mentioned a hike that they had taken in the west of Thailand near Um Phang. While on their hike, their guides found a very large tarantula (as big as their hand!!!) The guides used pliers to pull the fangs off the tarantula. For the remainder of the trip, they played with the fangless tarantula. The hapless tarantula was finally BBQed later that evening and shared as a snack for all. The cover of the book, "Man Eating Bugs" has a picture of someone eating one of these spiders, by the way. Man Eating Bugs

Q) Where can I get bug eating recipes?

Well, we haven't been around too long, so we don't have so many of our own recipes. Deep fried is always easy and tasty. If you look at Our recipe page, you will find some recipes. There are also links to untried recipes at The Bug Links Page. I recommend David Gordon's "Eat a Bug Cookbook." It has some pictures so that you can see what you might be eating. If you have recipes that you want to contribute, please Contact Planet Scott and submit them

Q) Will I get sick from eating bugs?

Probably not, but make sure to thoroughly clean and cook the bugs. Also, make sure that the bugs have not been exposed to any sort of pesticide. If you are allergic to shellfish, you should take a pass on the bugs. Otherwise, they should be as safe and tasty as lobster or shrimp.

Q) Can you send me nutritional info?

I am working on this, really! For the time being, though, you should check The Bug Links Page. They are good for you, though, I can tell you that.

This list of questions was submitted by Eric.

Q) Where can i find on-line bug ordering that acknowledges human interests and not just those of reptiles or birds?

I do not really know, but it should not really matter. The bugs that they sell for reptiles should be safe to eat, and they are among the most tasty. Your other options may be to check "ethnic" grocery stores. Also, you can go out and catch your own, but watch out for pesticides. I will soon be posting a list of online bug sources

Q) I noticed that your members and affiliates have unusual bug tastes, including tarantulas. Now, come on, please tell me that none there has actually EATEN a tarantula! In any case, where can I find any or all of those bugs that are listed?

Tarantulas are eaten by many people around the world. I have not been so fortunate, but from what I hear, they are best BBBQed (The extra "B" is for "Bug"). You can take out the fangs and use them for toothpicks when you are done. Most of these "bugs" can be found in pet stores, but they might be a little pricey. My recommendation is that you save up your money and make a trip to Thailand. It is a nice place to visit, and it is not too difficult to find carts piled with bugs for sale to eat. They are pretty inexpensive too. While I was there, I was able to sample Giant waterbugs, crickets, beetles, grubs, scorpions, and chicken embryos.

Q) I've seen recipes around, but do your members have any TRIED AND PROVEN recipes!! For different parts of the meal too, from soup to dessert...?

Well, we haven't been around too long, so we don't have so many of our own recipes. Deep fried is always easy and tasty. If you look at Our recipe page, you will find some recipes. There are also links to untried recipes. I recommend David Gordon's "Eat a Bug Cookbook." It has some pictures so that you can see what you might be eating. If you have recipes that you want to contribute, please Contact Planet Scott and submit them

Q) Where can I find the most comprehensive EDIBLE BUG list available, or at least a big one.

Gosh, I don't know. Perhaps I should make one up and post it on my website.

Q) Whether as a joke or not, it might be interesting to find out the dietary effects that various insects have on the digestive system. Seems to me they'd provide some good roughage and so on...

Nutritional info is coming soon to the BABES website. I haven't had enough time lately, however, to update the site.

Q) Who, what, where, why and when, on the most economical way to raise a good basic insect (probably crickets it seems) in as small of a space as possible, but large enough that a significant amount can be produced in order to keep a harvest going...

The great thing about insects is that they do not really need that much space. One problem you will find with crickets, however, is that the males fight with each other. You can feed insects just about anything. I would recommend a 10 gallon aquarium with some clean dirt on the bottom of it (boil it first and let it dry). Throw your vegetable compost in as food and watch them grow. I think that one female cricket lays more than 100 eggs, and you will be able to see how many little crickets are growing. Make sure to put in crumpled up paper as hiding spaces, and always replace the screen top. Crickets thrive in fairly warm temperatures. If it gets too cold, they will not grow very fast or multiply.

Questions submitted by William for his college paper

Q) When do you think McDonald's will add a McHopper to the menu? Y2K?

Considering the proliferance of McDonalds in nearly every country, I would not be surprised if they already have bugs on the menu somewhere. In India, for instance, I hear that they have goat burgers instead of hamburgers. I cannot verify McHopper with rumors or anecdotes, however, and I only go into McDonalds to use their clean shiny toilets.

When did you start BABES?

February 1999

Q) Tell me something about your organization. What are your activities? How many members? What was your inspiration for founding the club?

Babes actually has a fairly long prehistory which began in full stride with an article in Discover Magazine reviewing David Gordon's "Eat a bug cookbook". Shortly after my parcel arrived from Amazon.com, I was sent to Fresno to do some work. If you have ever been to Fresno in late summer, you will know that crickets quite outnumber humans. I took this easy and cheap gathering opportunity to test out one of the recipes in the cookbook (Crispy Crickets Chex Mix). It took awhile and a few beers, but I was eventually able to convince nearly all of my coworkers to eat a cricket. The waitress at the bar had one as well. Starting the club was a downhill ride from there.

Q) What fascinates you about eating bugs? I think it's an adventure, a journey into the magical realm of unknown tastes. What do you think?

Eating bugs is much more that just great taste. Eating bugs allows you to experience life in an easier time. Before computers, traffic jams, and smallpox epidemics, many Americans enjoyed the ample and easy to gather proteins that bugs had to offer. As usual, colonization put an end to this along with many other free sources of food (Bison, fisheries, etc...) putting us into perpetual wage slavery. So, when you are eating bugs, you not only get a morsel of buggy goodness, but you get a rare chance to "stick it to the Man"

Q) When was the first time you ate a bug? What kind? Where were you?

The first time I ate a bug, it was the worm in a bottle of Mescal. I was visiting a friend in college.

Q) What type of insects have you eaten? Your favorite? If you were to make a Thanksgiving meal out insects only, what would you serve?

When eating "bugs," I say, "Why limit yourself to insects." Scorpions, spiders, earthworms, sow bugs, and their kin all make tasty treats. I would even go so far as to include deep fried chicken embryos in the category of "bug." All these bugs, as well as the staple crickets and mealworms would find their way to the ideal Thanksgiving plate. Gordon's "Three Bee Soup" would be ideal for starters. You can't forget mainstays such as ants, termites, or giant waterbugs. In reality, however, it can be difficult to find a pesticide free source of bugs. Most pet stores sell only crickets and mealworms. For these reasons, I recommend Thailand as the prime Thanksgiving destination.

Q) What do you think it tastes like (and please don't say it's like chicken)?

Each bug has its own distinct flavor. I would have to say, based on my experience, that bugs taste similar to the other arthropods that we commonly eat... shrimp, lobster, crab...

Q) What would you say to someone who thinks insects as food is totally disgusting? Is it clean? Is it healthy?

I would say two things to that person... 1) The USDA allows a certain amount of bug parts to be present in almost every type of food. Everyone eats bugs all of the time. 2) Properly cleaned and prepared, bugs MUST be much safer and cleaner than the chickens, pigs, and cows that are cramped together for their entire lives. Livestock are basically immobilized, stacked on top of each other, and pumped full of hormones as they wallow in their own waste. In addition, I can only imagine what is done to this meat once it reaches the slaughterhouses and supermarket butchers. Hot dogs anyone?

Insects provide all the essential proteins at a fraction of the cost. Compared to pork and beef, insects are a healthy low-fat food that can be raised in your own backyard using kitchen scraps for feed.

Q) Who are the type of people who eat bugs? Why are they attracted to it?

The type of people who eat bugs are those who actively question the "truths" that are handed to them by their culture and governments. They want to experience new things in our increasingly sterile world. They challenge the logic of the status quo.

Q) How do you think the cultural taboo of enthomophagy could be broken? What would you have to convince people of?

I think that starvation is about the only way to change the current view on entomophagy. I could be wrong, however. In the 1800s, British fishing vessels routinely threw lobsters back into the ocean. If a good marketing campaign is started, the worm may turn for all of us.

Q) For how long and how often have you dined on insects?

I have been eating insects for about one year now. Since the variety is very small in the US, however, it has not been so frequent here. I am going to Mexico in a few days, however, and I hear the termite tacos are quite popular.

Q) How did you first react?

I have questioned the entomophagy taboo for as long as I can remember.

Q) How do most people react to bug-eating?

They think it is a joke or for attention. When they have the chance to try a bug, however, most of them do.

Q) Who would you say is an expert in bug-eating?

David Gordon must be considered the prime expert on bug eating.

Other Questions

Q) Do you know any restaurants in Colorado/England/Massachusetts/Space that serve insects?

Sorry, I don't. I heard of a place in Washington DC and of a couple places in Germany. Thailand is a great place to eat bugs. I heard of a club that has been around for 100 years in NYC, but I don't have any info.

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