Waiter, There’s More Than a Fly in My Soup


The author offers this “Blast From the Past” while he celebrates the holidays with his famil.

Recently, researchers at Rutgers University reported there are about 1,900 insect species that are edible and highly nutritious.

These scientists say bugs contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and essential minerals

So, insects are good for us…when we eat them.

However, chewing on six-legged or squirmy things is a hard sell in the U.S. as well as Canada and much of Europe.

But, about 2 billion folks on other parts of the globe have bugs as a regular part of their diets.

In the “western world”, I think it’s as much a marketing issue as anything.

Perhaps if the “Golden Arches” started serving up insects at its’ “Golden Antenna” franchises, it might work.

“I’ll take an order of ‘McWorms’ and ‘Grub Nuggets’ to go, please”.

“You want flies with that?”

(You had to know that was coming, right?)

Many American motorcyclists have been eating bugs for a long time anyway.

My Dad’s favorite joke was to ask me, “How do you tell a happy motorcyclist?”

I’d shrug my shoulders and he’d slap me on the back and snort, “He’s the one with the bugs on his teeth!”

I remember in Air Force basic training, guys gabbing in their bunks about going out in the field and having to to eat some critters.

It never ever happened but I’m sure many recruits tossed and turned, unable to sleep while visions of  the next day’s lunch squirming in their palms danced in their heads.

I’ve choked down the occasional gnat or fly while working outdoors or chasing a fly ball in my softball playing days but it was never a purposeful choice.

And, who among us hasn’t sampled a chocolate-covered ant?

But, that’s more about the chocolate than the ant, isn’t it?

I think I may have sipped a grasshopper, but that really doesn’t count, does it?

My research reveals grasshoppers, locusts and crickets are big sources of protein. The Bible told us John the Baptist ate locusts so if they’re good enough for him, maybe we should give it a go. I only looked at crickets as a means for telling the temperature but they can also nourish me after my thirst for knowledge is satisfied.

The soft-bodied larvae of palm weevils contain so much good fat that you don’t need oil to fry them but my sources say they’re also eaten raw.

The mopane worm (caterpillar, actually) is a good source of iron.

Meal worms are said to be similar to beef in terms of nutritional value while black soldier fly maggots are good sources of fat and protein.

Also, the black soldier fly will consume poultry, pig and cattle manure, helping to reduce the wonderful aroma and potential pollution problems.

I must confess the thought of consuming anything that eats pig poo or is known as a maggot reduces its food desirability significantly for me.

But maybe bugs and such will start to show up in our meals, on purpose.

I’ve always thought that the discarded shells of cicadas sort of looked like pork rinds and I think with a little melted butter and salt, they’d make a passable, crunchy treat.

Years ago, on the old “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons, that crazy moose used to have a worm farm and he’d herd them up and move them from time to time, much like the cowboys did with cattle.

Come to think of it, didn’t cowboys refer to their meals as “grub”?

Adding insects, worms and such to our diets will bring a whole new set of challenges for mothers of finicky youngsters.

“Johnny, eat your creamed worms before they crawl off your plate!”

“Mommy, I don’t like my raisin bran when the raisins are wriggling!”

“Oh honey, clean your plate and you can have some frosted fleas for dessert.”

Maybe Starbucks could get the older kids involved by introducing a “Larvae Latte”.

Maybe Applebee’s could actually serve up some “apples and bees”.

I understand some folks in China already eat bees.

Personally, I think adding insects to sausage or even hot dogs might be a way to introduce them to American diets. Nobody really wants to know what’s in either one so lets “bug it up” a little.

You might be able to pull it off with meatloaf and vegetable soup, too

Listen, how about the first guy who suggested trying milk?

“Psst! See those finger-like things hanging from that animal’s underside? I’ll bet they hold something good and tasty that we might like.”

(Hey, mix it with some ice cream and a little vanilla and maybe some strawberries and you’ll really have something!)

My point is, somebody had to be first. Milk is pretty common today but there was a time when it wasn’t a part of the human food picture.

Meet me at “Grasshopper Hut” for a basket of wings and legs and we’ll talk it over.

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