Category Archives: Entomophagy

Connecticut Entomological Society meeting

Is it the third week of the month already? Time for another meeting of the Connecticut Entomological Society! The meetings are free and open to the public, though becoming a member is highly encouraged ($7/year for students, $15/year everyone else). The meetings involve dinner, a talk, show-and-tell and general entomological gossip. This month’s meeting is being held this Friday evening at Yale.

Connecticut Entomological Society
“Pop-up” Flash Extreme Macro Photography
by
Arthur S. Vaughan
Vice President and Member of the New England Camera Club Council
April 19, 2013
Room 123, Kline Geology Laboratory Auditorium, Yale University
210 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT

Art will introduce his “pop-up” flash macro photography” and show some fascinating pictures of insects and spiders.
This is our annual potluck dinner and silent auction. Please bring a dish to share as well as any items you would like to donate to the silent auction. Insect artwork, specimens, books, equipment are especially welcome. Proceeds go to CES treasury.
Potluck dinner will be held between 6:30pm and 7:30pm.
Meeting will begin at 7:30 pm followed by the featured speaker.
As always, exhibits are welcome!

I’ll be bringing one or two dishes made with insects for the potluck – maybe some spinach artichoke mealworm dip, or some cricket granola bars. And one of my plushies will be offered for the silent auction.

If you come, you’ll recognize our lab – we’ll be wearing our shirts.

Entomophagy – Insect Banquet!

This is the last week of field entomology – I can’t believe how fast it has gone by!

You can check out my curriculum at the course website (though the materials are password protected). Just about everything was done from scratch. I used some handouts used in previous entomology classes to help me organize my lectures, but otherwise I’ve been on my own. Writing lectures, organizing field trips, driving the field trip van, gathering supplies, creating assignments and quizzes, grading, answering questions, and staying in the lab many hours past class time. I even took the students on a night collecting trip outside of class, which was a blast. These are all reasons why my blog has been ignored – I was warned by the grad student who taught it last year that it would take over my life, and it has. Then I have a week off, then general entomology starts! (I’ll be the TA).

Today I decided to have an insect banquet, to start the last week out with a bang (it ends with the final exam on Friday, when their collections are also due).

Some insects I purchased alive from a pet store, and some I purchased from Dave Gracer of SmallStock Foods. He was able to provide me with a great assortment of insects with very different flavors.

I will save the “reasons why you should eat insects” post for another time – here I will give my reviews of the dishes I made, and how my students reacted! (they got extra credit points for trying every dish, which greatly enhanced enthusiasm)

Chewy Cricket bar (apple cinnamon flavor)
100 crickets (frozen, boiled, baked, ground into cricket flour), dates, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, almonds, apples, maple syrup, cinnamon.

Delicious dessert. Great way to introduce the concept for the very squeamish. Everyone loved these.

Waxworm hummus
50 waxworm caterpillars (toasted on a hot pan, then ground in a food processor), plain hummus.

Tasty and nutty. Everyone liked this one too. I think it tasted better than the plain hummus.

Periodical cicadas – bacon and chocolate
Periodical cicadas wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven, some baked plain and then dipped in chocolate.

The bacon ones were a yummy combination. The chocolate was so-so.

Ugandan Katydids – Mexican “Chapulines” style
Mexican “chapulines” are grasshoppers cooked in garlic and lime juice. I did that with the katydids.

Tasty, could be crunchier though. Good snack. Hit-or-miss with the students, some didn’t like them, some wanted more.

Stuffed mushrooms with Texas katydids
Texas katydids, green onions, coconut oil, Thai seasoning.

The toughest to eat, mentally. The big legs got stuck in people’s teeth. The bites were too big and you had to chew for too long. The taste wasn’t bad, but the texture got to a lot of people.

Giant Water Bugs
Giant Water Bugs from Thailand, boiled. Thoracic meat eaten with apple slices.

The most daring dish, cooked right here in the lab. Took some work to get the insects open and scoop out the meat. The flavor was very strong – not “I want to spit it out” terrible, but so bizarre none of us knew how to describe it. Buttery, fishy, salty… I can imagine it being tasty in a dish, not so much on its own though.

Here are student reactions before and after trying the water bug:

For more photos of the cooking process and student reactions, check out our class Flickr page!

 

 

Bugs in food

Yesterday I took my first serious foray into cooking with insects. It was a success!

Instead of extolling the virtues of cooking with insects (for your health and for the environment), I will point you to a few blogs and websites:

Girl Meets Bug, Don Bugito, Small Stock FoodsInsects are Food, The Bug Chicks, The Bug Chef

And here is what I did. I read a few websites on how to handle crickets, and then devised my own recipe for chocolate cricket protein bars. I think they turned out delicious, and you can’t tell there are crickets involved at all.

Except for the one I left on the plate…

Chocolate cricket protein bars

36 (or more) live crickets
3 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp chia seed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
2 tbsp cocoa powder
10 dates
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
1/3 cup coconut oil

Preparing crickets: Try to get medium size, live crickets without wings. Freeze to kill them, then put into boiling water for two minutes to clean them. Place on a baking sheet, put in at 200F for 45 minutes. You can use as many crickets as you would like, next time I will use at least 50. After they have baked, roll each one between your fingers to break off the legs and antennae. Place the cricket bodies in a food processor until finely broken down. You can take them out and crush them with a rolling pin if any bits are still too big.

Then add your walnuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts to a food processor until they are a fine meal. You can add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, or transfer to a larger blender. Process everything together until it is a sticky, consistent texture.

Press into a baking dish or pan, and put in the fridge to cool. Later cut into bars to eat!

My description of the amount of each ingredient is approximate. And there are lots of ways you could adjust this recipe to suit your dietary (or taste) needs. I am excited to sneak crickets and waxworms into even more recipes!

Connecticut Entomological Society

Promoting insect research, conservation, and outreach

Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology and Biomechanics

Saurian Obsessions

Life, love, and limb-reduced fossorial skinks

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.