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Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects Paperback


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Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects + The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, Revised: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and Their Kin + Creepy Crawly Cuisine: The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Material World (September 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984074414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984074419
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Conventional wisdom holds that our dietary habits are mostly set by the time we reach age 5. Perhaps this explains why the thought of eating insects sends the average Westerner into a fit of shudders and gagging. But entomophagy is practiced by all kinds of people, all over the world. Arthropods are a good source of protein, they're plentiful, and they're often easier to catch than a fast bird or dangerous mammal. Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, the husband-wife team behind the photojournalistic masterpieces Material World and Women in the Material World, bring us the world of insect eating through stunning photos and amusing, enlightening text, complete with recipes for delicacies like Simple Scorpion Soup. Peter dives into each insect meal with gusto, whereas Faith is always less enthusiastic, but participates nonetheless, if only to push her Western taste boundaries out a bit further. Here she describes her first taste of a fried tarantula in Cambodia: "I can stall no longer. I break off a leg--it's two inches long, but seems like twelve--and ask if this too is supposed to be eaten. Yes, I'm told, so I do. I'm surprised that it doesn't feel hairy in my mouth because it looks awfully hairy.... It doesn't taste bad, but I can't say it tastes good."

Man Eating Bugs is part global anthropological study, part nature essay, part travel adventure story. The plentiful, gorgeous photographs will take you on an emotional journey, from the depths of disgust to the heights of awe, as you realize that "the shelves of the supermarket carry only a small slice of what the world has to offer." --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Scientific American

Entomophagy, the eating of insects, is not for every palate, but a surprising number of people do it. Menzel and D'Aluisio, husband and wife, have visited insect eaters in 13 countries, sampling the menu at each stop. "Our view of the culinary potential of invertebrates broadened as we ate raw scorpion in China, roasted grubs in Australia, stir-fried dragonflies in Indonesia, tarantulas on a stick in Cambodia, and live termites in Botswana," they write. "Perhaps the most memorable meal was Theraposa leblondi, a tarantula big enough to hunt birds, which we ate with Yanomami Indians in the Venezuelan rain forest." Adventurous readers will find recipes for such delicacies as Witchetty Grub Dip and Stink Bug Pâté. Menzel, a photographer, enlivens the book with many of his pictures. D'Aluisio, identified as "a reluctant bug eater," nonetheless learned that she could do it. The experience led her to conclude that "the shelves of the [American] supermarket carry only a narrow slice of what the world has to offer." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read.
"tess73"
This book is more of a "travel memoir meets anthropological study," about people who consume insects and the countries in which bug-eating is common.
J. Olson
This book has always been a big hit with the numerous public school classes that visit our museum.
David B Richman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David B Richman on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has always been a big hit with the numerous public school classes that visit our museum. I only have to hold it up to get a reaction, usually a groan, but it sure gets their attention. It also starts discussions and questions even when other parts of the presentation have not. The photos are great and add immensely to the charm of the book.

In general Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio have written a book in "Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects" that is largely color photos. But what photos! Each present parts of a story involving the way various cultures employ insects in their cuisine. This brings up a question used by a much earlier author as a book title - "Why Not Eat Insects?" Many (but by no means all!) species of both insects and arachnids are as edible as the shrimp and crabs we Americans love to consume. We of course have to be cautious (not a good idea to eat cockroaches, despite some "reality" TV programs!), but there are a number of "safe" species that have been "taste tested" so to speak. In addition, we unwittingly consume tons of insects in various agricultural products simply because they pose no health hazard and are nearly impossible to remove.

If you have to deal with children in education or if you are just curious about what other cultures eat, this is a great book both to read and just to peruse. I would think that it would find its way to school libraries and to home schoolers lists of resources!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "tess73" on May 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. And I've read a *lot* of books!
Peter and Faith's commentary throughout their journey into the delights of bug-eating is intelligent, witty and so enticingly descriptive that you really will feel drawn to savouring deep fried tarantula and stink bug casserole...honestly!
The photography is phenomenal, and the intimate insight into cultures other than their own leaves me yearning for more by this couple. Very highly recommended!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Emory on November 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
A feast (or just a snack) of insects sounds almost revolting unless of course you deep fry them or place them in lollipops or my favorite barbecued. Whats not to love about straight from the earth cuisine which is actually considered delicacies in many countries. Menzel demonstrates that every continent gets enjoyment from tasty insect treats. But because Menzel is such an amazing photographer, its hard not to have your skin crawl when you see a girl eating a spider, or women eating grubs (look like albino catepillers), or the vast amounts of scorpions runnng aimlessly around a man's feet. I particularly think the roasted termites were very disturbing since they look like rat size roaches. I dont mean to sound childish, this book is much more then just unique cuisine, its another way that Menzel is making us globally aware of our neighbors. The photography is beautiful and vivid plus the paragraphs speaking of the insects and thier importance makes you feel a little respect for things we usually step on. Menzel is once again a genious and a little offbeat (in the best of ways) with this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kharille on August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very well illustrated book but somehow not quite what I was looking for. Very colourful and easy reading though primarily about the authors experiences travelling around the world and descriptive about their environment. However I was hoping for a more informative book with less illustrations and more content whether that is nutritional content or actual information on the measures to breed/catch/prepare the food. All in all a nice overview of entomophagy with illustrations and ideal for younger readers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Can you imagine putting Jon Krakauer, Julia Child, and the guy who wrote Men are From Mars, Women from Venus together in a blender and pouring the result into a book? I can't either, but I think if you could imagine it, it would be kind of like "Man Eating Bugs." Besides being a feast of 200+ amazing bizarro photos, the book is a convincing demonstration that some people will go to the ends of the earth to eat a tarantula the size of a dinner plate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rawpwr73 on November 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
I saw this book in a nature store a couple of years ago and was immediately captivated by it's gorgeous photography and tasty subject matter. This is the ultimate "gross out" book for insect-haters and the ultimate insect-enlightenment book for bug-lovers. After reading this book, you'll see why so many other countries utilize insects as a food source and you may even wish that it was more accepted here in the US!(could entomophagy be the answer to many of our health problems?)
This book was chock-a-block full of facinating info about other cultures,customs,and cusine,as well as colorful photography and stories! I suggest it to everyone, even the insect-haters :) Maybe they'll develop a "taste" for it (haha)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on July 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A delightful book featuring an eight year on-again off-again survey of...BUGS ON THE DINNER PLATE! The authors search for insect eaters willing to be photographed with their cuisine and share their knowledge. The photos are plentiful and absolutely brilliant.

Peter alternates essays with Faith and is consistently more enthusiastic about experiencing every taste: "If day-old fried chicken had no bones, hair instead of feathers, and were the size of a newborn sparrow, they might taste like tarantula." Faith only ate a two inch piece of tarantula leg. Peter says Faith is a lightweight. "Big deal!" says Faith.

The South African ladies' lunch group was aghast when they heard about the Chinese, who eat raw scorpions with their stingers and poison sacs removed or stir-fried without the subtraction. "I wouldn't eat them," one of them said, as she downed her fried termites. Both groups would probably be repulsed by the New Guinea boys who eat raws grubs or roasted stink bugs for a mid-morning snack - or the Indonesian woman who likes cicada and says, "It's better than pig." What constitutes acceptable vs repulsive food seems to be a matter of locale and culture.

Obviously, our supermarkets are culturally limited, offering only a narrow slice of what world cuisine offers. The authors provide formal recipes for witchetty grub dip, fried water bugs with plum sauce, scorpion soup, grasshopper tacos, stink bug pate, mealworm spaghetti, and sundried mopane worms. Many simpler recipes may be gleaned from the text.

Peter Menzel is an award-winning photographer. Faith D'Aluisio, his wife, is an award winning TV news and documentary producer. The book covers trips to thirteen countries, mostly third-world - definitely a 5-star effort.
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