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Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects Paperback – September 24, 1998
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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 the Library Binding edition.
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 the Library Binding edition.
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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!
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.
Even the squeamish parents admitted the book was fantastic, on so many levels.
Two thumbs up, along with a tarantula & scorpion!!!!
The book is always entertaining and opens a door to a world we may never have considered. Buy it! Read it!
Most recent customer reviews
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