Move over raw veggies and iced soy mocha’s, and make way for… BUGS?
Madonna endorses the Flaxseed Diet; Beyonce, the Maple Syrup Diet. Now a few celebrities have come out and admitted to not only eating bugs, but loving them! Could this be the next trend in Hollywood foods?
Celebrities Eating Insects
Angelina Jolie and her family frequently travel the world for vacations and movie shoots. During their travels, Angelina Jolie admits to indulging in local delicacies, which sometimes includes crickets, roaches, and other insects. The actress opened up in a promotional video for Louis Vuitton’s Core Values campaign and said her and her kids fell in love with eating crickets during a family trip to Cambodia.
“The biggest thing actually — to be honest — here in Cambodia is my boys love to eat crickets. It’s their favorite thing. … When I first gave it to them, I thought — I wanted them to understand. Culturally, I wanted them not to be turned off by something that was of their culture. So I bought it and … they ate them like Doritos, and they wouldn’t stop. And they brought to-go boxes home, and I had to actually ban the cricket-eating at a certain point because I was afraid they were gonna get sick from eating too many.”
“They’re good! They are like potato chips,” Jolie adds. “We’ve had ‘the beetle.’ They call it a cockroach; I think it’s more like a beetle. I have yet to have the tarantulas on a stick or spider soup here. It does seem like an odd thing to eat — no, it does! I don’t know if I can get around the fur, but” — she says, with a knowing smile — “you gotta try everything.”
Angelina Jolie and her family aren’t the only Hollywood stars eating insects. Salma Heyak, star of the upcoming movie ‘Here Comes the Boom,’ says she loves eating grasshoppers, ants, and worms.
“We eat bugs and we have many recipes for some of them. Escamoles, which are the eggs of these little ants, are amazing when fried with a little guacamole. And there are many different recipes for worms.”
Entomophagy—The Act of Eating Insects
Eating insects might seem like a disguising act, better left for ‘Bizarre Foods’ host Andrew Zimmern. The truth is Entomophagy, or the act of eating insects, is a way of life for millions of people worldwide. People in less developed countries rely on insects for protein and other nutrients needed for survival.
A History of Eating Insects
Dining on insects is definitely an old practice, dating back to the beginning of man-kind. Ten thousand years ago hunters and gatherers ate bugs to survive. Greek and Roman aristocrats loved to eat beetle larvae that had been raised on flour and wine. The Old Testament mentions ancient Christians and Jews the eating of locusts, grasshoppers, and beetles. Paiute Indians weren’t always hunting buffalo, frequently engaging in Mormon cricket hunts. Fast forward to today. Many types of insects appear on menus, remaining a traditional food in many cultures throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Thailand just might be the insect eating capital of the world. Vendors will sell crispy insects from carts at outdoor markets, and fried crickets are served liked peanuts in bars.
In Brazil, içás, or queen ants, are a preferred snack indulged in by most of its citizens.
The Chinese munch on a large variety of insects, from water bugs boiled and drenched in vinegar to live scorpions soaked in liquor. Chinese beekeepers will often eat the larvae from their beehives.
Insects are commonly eaten with cornmeal porridge. That sounds pretty appetizing.
The Japanese savor aquatic fly larvae sautéed in sugar and soy sauce. Restaurants all over Japan serve up healthy portions of aquatic insect larvae, boiled wasp larvae, and fried silk moth pupae.
The people in Bali love to remove the wings from dragonflies, and then boil them in coconut milk with ginger and garlic. Yum!
In Ghana during the spring rains, winged termites are collected and fried, roasted, or even made into bread. The termites are high in proteins, fats and oils, all of which are needed for a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Mexico and Latin America
In Latin America ants, fire-roasted tarantulas, and cicadas are common customary dishes. One of the most famous culinary insects in Mexico, the agave worm, is eaten on tortillas and placed in bottles of tequila. Chocolate-covered locusts and candy-covered worms make getting your daily dose of protein oh-so sweet.
Keeping An Open Mind
Most of us here in The United States are turned off at the thought of eating insects. There are even shows like ‘Fear Factor,’ where contestants regularly gag down creepy crawlies in order to win. With most of the world’s population dining on insects, and now Hollywood celebrities recommending eating them, should we be keeping more of an open mind? I for one am not in any hurry to pop a handful of fried cockroaches in my mouth, but maybe I’m in the minority.
What’s the best tasting insect you’ve eaten?