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
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."