Some food for thought

A Pigeon, a scorpion, a locust and other things I would never eat. Okay maybe not yet.

Umbreen Ali
By Umbreen Ali
January 8, 2012, 11:19 pm

A friend recently asked me if I was stranded in a room for three days with no nourishment aside from a tarantula or a rat, which one would I eat.

I recoiled at the question. 'Neither' I replied peremptorily.

Although upon further investigation it seems that the tarantula is a more viable option. My friend blithely opted for the rat’s tail.

I am going to invite my daring friend to eat a slug omelette or a bug salad commonly found in restaurants in the Netherlands.

As well as locusts and crickets. Perhaps that is not challenging enough.

He should be made to sample mealworm bread, a common Irish dish in the time of the famine, but even made today. That and the mealworm quiche. With some broccoli and cheese, who knows, it may well tantalise the senses! 

The Irish also promote the 80% protein content of the earthworm. What, are you not salivating yet at this salubrious offering?

Is eating insects really a viable option?

I thought stomach, feet and tongue were adventurous enough. I asked the local butcher what the furry carpet looking piece in the display was. He replied, the stomach of the sheep.

When my disdain was visible on my face, he proceeded to ask me my ethnic origins. Ascertaining my Pakistani roots he stated matter of fact that as a race we are renowned for consuming all parts of the animal, so why the shock expression.

Whilst that may well hold true within segments of the race, have we evolved enough to broaden our palates to include bugs?

My brother recently berated me for not tasting the pigeon and ostrich on the menu of a local French restaurant.

No matter how much garlic and chilli it is cooked in, or how much foie gras is served on the side, the thought of consuming those birds fills me with nausea. And that sentiment is not exclusive to them. It applies to rabbits, zebra, kangaroo and gnu.

Perhaps I am short sighted in diversifying my palate. After all, in Thailand the skewered scorpion remains a popular delicacy.

In Taiwan the silk worm larvae is a dessert that satiates the local palate.

Without a doubt the consumption of bugs are more economically and environmentally friendly. And a lower calorie intake than their living counterparts.

If ever there were an incentive. It certainly gives one a myriad of dining options.

Perhaps insects and bugs are just an acquired taste, much like the twig tasting, popular slimming puerrh tea, and with the right celebrity endorsing its benefits, it could well become a revolutionary lifestyle we can all adopt with élan.

George Bernard Shaw quite aptly stated that ‘there is no love sincerer than the love of food', yet I can safely say that my carnivore days are behind me as I welcome the life of a vegan.

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