We’ve written about eating insects already at the Gimcrack but now that I’ve discovered The Food Insects Newsletter, I see there’s lots more to talk about
Buy the book here
“According to Dick Reavis, one restaurant providing this kind of fare is Don Chon’s in Mexico City, “a back-street landmark for rustics and adventurous connoisseurs. The owner, Leopoldo Ortega, notes that back in the fifties, the restaurant was mainly patronized by the vendors who came from the countryside. Because pre Hispanic food has become relatively expensive, tourists and people with bohemian tastes now outnumber the country folk. A plate of red agave worms is priced at 30,000 pesos or about $11, nearly two times the daily wage of most Mexicans. Reavis also tried a side dish of live worms and describes the indelicate maneuvers required to remove one when it bit him.
image found here
Reavis concludes his article with the following paragraph: “In my opinion, the finest delicacy at Don Chon’s is escamoles in green sauce, sprinkled with diced onion and bits of cilantro. Escamoles are the larvae of black ants. When boiled, they look like cottage cheese. Rank amateurs scoop them up with a spoon, and ordinary Mexicans with a corn tortilla But the blase know, and the bold quickly see, that a torta de ahuatli – a wafer made of batter and the eggs of a swamp fly – does the trick in higher style. The season for escamoles is in the spring. By then, Don Chon’s will also be serving white worms as big as your fingers. I don’t know if they bite, but take my advice:” They’re tasty when toasted, but I wouldn’t eat them alive.”
Escamoles found here
The eggs of water bugs are toasted, ground up and made into little cakes held together with turkey egg. In the late 18th Century, they were apparently a garnish for the festive dish called revoltijo, served on Christmas Eve. Other insects still eaten include locusts, which can be eaten raw, roasted, fried, jellied and mashed, and are a seductive combination of a crisp exterior and a creamy filling; mountain chinch bugs, eaten toasted or living; oak-boring beetles which are popular as snacks among Mixtec peasants; ant larvae and pupae; and wasps.
Edible locust farm found here
For those of you who turn up your nose at the idea of eating insects, the Food and Drug Administration have published a booklet listing the allowable percentages of “natural contaminants” in processed foods.
CHOCOLATE AND CHOCOLATE LIQUOR
Insect filth: Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined OR any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments
Chocolate Wine found here
Rodent filth: Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined OR any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs
CITRUS FRUIT JUICES, CANNED
Insects and insect eggs: 5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml
RED FISH AND OCEAN PERCH
Parasites: 3% of the fillets examined contain 1 or more parasites accompanied by pus pockets
MACARONI AND NOODLE PRODUCTS
Insect filth: Average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
Rodent filth: Average of 4.5 rodent hairs or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
Noodle chair found here
Insect filth: Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
Rodent filth: Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams
Peanut Butter Mice found here