Red, orange and yellow,
Forgo that fine fellow.
Black, green and brown,
Go ahead and toss him down.
-Chef David George Gordon
The plan came to me as I was out walking on Friday evening. A bit of research on the internet confirmed it would work. The execution was almost flawless, the results were spectacular.
The mistake (and it was a biggie) was telling Misseswether what I had done.
Apparently frying up a batch of June bugs for breakfast is not considered acceptable behavior in the Wether household.
June bugs, the other breakfast of champions.
It didn't matter that Miniwether and Mambowether loved them and begged for more even though I used a bit too much cooking oil. Note to self: next time try the popcorn popper. Note to self #2: don't get caught.
In light of the popularity of my edible wild plants and edible landscaping posts, it seemed like entomophagy was the next logical step. Many cultures practice entomophagy, which is what a scientist (me) calls eating bugs. I must admit saying "I practiced my entomophagy this weekend." does sound a bit better than "Me and the girls ate bugs this weekend.".
So what bugs are edible? In general, insects from the following list can be considered sources of food. However, some indivivdual species of these classes may be toxic, so do a bit of research before nibbling.
Anoplura - lice
Orthoptera - grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches (Southern Lubber grasshoppers are NOT edible)
Hemiptera - true bugs
Homoptera - cicadas and treehoppers
Hymenoptera - bees, ants and wasps (fire ants are NOT edible)
Diptera - flies and mosquitoes (not recommended do to possible disease transmission)
Coleoptera - beetles
Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths
Megaloptera - alderflies and dobsonflies
Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies
Ephemetoptera - mayflies
Trichoptera - caddisflies
Plecoptera - stoneflies
Neuroptera - lacewings and antlions
Isoptera - termites
June bugs are a good starter meal for those interested in trying insects. They are easily recognized, don't bite or sting and have no similar-looking poisonous mimics. They can be found in great numbers and can easily be caught by shining a flashlight on a white sheet at night. The June bugs will swarm to the light spot on the sheet where you can grab them. Native Americans simply tossed them onto hot coals and when they "popped" they were done. Pulling off the wings and legs leaves you with a walnuty-sweet golden lump of protein and fat. I don't recommend sauteeing them in oil like I did. It left them too oily tasting for my liking, though the girls loved them.
A few minutes gathering.
Cooked, de-winged/legged and ready to eat.
The non-edible parts.
Breakfast is served. Note the cool "Bug Watch(er)" on Miniwether's wrist.
Removing the wings and legs was a bit tricky for my big fingers but Miniwether had no problem. Long fingernails would be helpful, but it really didn't take much effort. The wings and legs popped out away from the body.
And now for 'What has Merriwether learned?"
1. June bugs and many other common insects are edible.
2. A two year old and a five year old will DEMAND to eat anything they see their dad eat.
3. June bugs are better roasted rather than sauteed.
4. It is not necessary or even advisable for a husband to tell his wife everything.
Peace be with you!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Red, orange and yellow,