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on November 22, 2004
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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on September 2, 2011
First of all, the reader should know that this is not actually a cookbook that will tell you how to prepare and cook your own insects, though a few sample recipes are briefly written out in the text. 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. Fortunately, the writing is strong and the photographs, of which there are plenty, are fantastic. The writers took 8 years to travel the world, interview people, take great pictures, and learn as much as they could about the practical and cultural aspects of eating bugs; this dedication paid off. The book is handsome and sturdy, loaded with great pictures and yet not so massive as to be mereley a coffee-table conversation piece. I read the book with my young children, who are fascinated by the pictures of insects and the people eating them. At night I read it by myself, amazed by the cultural gems the authors have written about. While the idea of eating bugs was not particularly appealing to me at first, this book inspired me to purchase and try a number of edible insect products(which, conveniently, can be purchased right here on I am an amateur gourmet cook and traveller, and this book really inspired me to expand both my culinary interests and my travel plans!
I truly hope this husband-and-wife team will put out more publications as they really did a fantastic job with this one. It's a keeper in my home library for sure. Should you choose to try eating your own insects, products by Hotlix (made in the USA) are a great place to start.
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on August 29, 2014
Great book. Really interesting, speaking as someone who has eaten bugs and other strange things in my travels. Most of the photographs were truly excellent. There were a few places where I wish the photographs had been better, but, speaking as a photographer, when you travel you can't always get the best conditions. There's a few bugs I'd like to try after reading this.
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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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on August 17, 2004
I got interested in entomophagy (eating insects)when I found out that cicadas are ediible during the recent "invasion". I bought this book and was entranced by the beautiful photos, as well as the "point-counterpoint" comments by the authors, one of whom was considerably more enthusiastic than the other about the whole idea. This is a great glimpse of the eating of insects in almost all cultures except our own, and we're missing something by our squeamishness, believe me!

The book is always entertaining and opens a door to a world we may never have considered. Buy it! Read it!
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on February 12, 2013
I bought this for my brother thinking he might find it interesting but ended up reading 1/3 of it before I could wrap it and give it to him! Very well written and it keeps you reading with a similar style to a Nat. Geo article. For the squeamish: This really isn't that graphic so don't worry.
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on August 30, 2010
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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on January 30, 2015
The title pretty much says it all. If you've been in the Orient, you know that people eat insects. This book talks about that, at length.
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on January 22, 2011
A wonderful book that takes an incredibly in depth look into the place of insects in regional diets around the world. Although I bought this book for my 9 year old, who's a very good reader, he hasn't really read much of it. I on the other hand couldn't get enough. The amazing photographs and the conversational tone of the writing makes for a great read. A fascinating book.
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on February 8, 2010
The pictures in the book are amazing, both of people and bugs. I gave this book, in combination with an assortment of edible insects purchased from the Educational Innovations Inc. website, as gifts to several young nieces, nephews & grandchildren. Without exception the gifts were the highlight of the holidays - a chance to gross out friends and family while still educating the unsuspecting recipient.

Even the squeamish parents admitted the book was fantastic, on so many levels.

Two thumbs up, along with a tarantula & scorpion!!!!
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