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'The Bug Chef' says they're mighty tasty

  • David George Gordon, "The Bug Chef," will appear at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum in Seattle on Sunday.

    Photo by Frank Ross

    David George Gordon, "The Bug Chef," will appear at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum in Seattle on Sunday.

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  • David George Gordon, "The Bug Chef," will appear at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum in Seattle on Sunday.

    Photo by Frank Ross

    David George Gordon, "The Bug Chef," will appear at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum in Seattle on Sunday.

David George Gordon is a biologist with a penchant for eating bugs. He's the author of 12 books and his latest, "The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook," includes anecdotes, insights, culinary tips and recipes. He plans to cook up some bugs at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum on Sunday.
We caught up with him recently to talk about bugs:
Q: How did you start cooking and eating bugs?
A:
It started at an earlier version of Bug Fest. The group sponsors were the Scarabs, a bug society that meets at the Burke. I went to a Scarabs gathering and they were serving Chex mix with crickets. They called it "Chirpy Chex Mix."
I'm an adventurous eater and I thought, "I'll try anything once. This is pretty good, not too bad."
That was 15 years ago. At the time I was working on a book, "The Compleat Cockroach," and I was researching: "Do people eat cockroaches?" A light went on: I've always enjoyed cooking -- why not a cookbook?
Q: Where did you find recipes?
A:
There were already some very large and weighty tomes on people eating insects. I would look at how people in other parts of the world eat bugs to get some clues. In Oaxaca, Mexico, they eat grasshopper tacos.
Q: Why don't more people eat them?
A:
We're actually the oddballs because we don't eat bugs. We are still basically a colony of European nations and we share their tastes. Just about every other part of the world eats bugs: Africa, South America, Mexico, Southeast Asia -- you name it.
Q: Seriously, what do bugs taste like?
A:
Crickets are downright good.
If you did the blindfold test you would enjoy them right away.
Q: What's your favorite?
A:
Wax worms. They're rich, they're more caterpillar than worm, they've got that "When I grow up I want to be a moth someday." So there's a lot of potential in there.
I love white chocolate and wax worm cookies. if you bake them they taste like pistachio nuts. You'd say, "May I have another?"
Q: Are bugs a health food?
A:
Yeah, absolutely. Insects have an amazingly high amount of protein. The protein in dried grasshoppers is equal to lean ground beef.
Some of that is not utilizable. The body armor is roughage. We can't digest it, but the same thing could be said about the skin of an apple.
They're low in fat. A cup of crickets has 6 grams of fat. On the South Beach Diet you can eat all the crickets you want.
Debra Smith , 425-339-3197 dsmith@heraldnet.com

SCORPION SCALOPPINE
8 frozen desert hairy scorpions ((Hadrurus arizonensis) or similar species, thawed
1 pint low-fat milk
1 cup white cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Using a sharp knife, remove and discard stingers and venom glands from the tips of the scorpions' tails.
Pour milk into a medium-sized bowl; add scorpions and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter. Remove scorpions from the milk mixture, allowing excess to drain off. Dredge the scorpions through the cornmeal, one at a time. Shake off excess flour.
Place the scorpions in the hot butter, and cook until golden brown (about 2 minutes), then turn scorpions over and cook until done (about 1 minute).
Drain on paper toweling, sprinkle with lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Makes four servings.
From "The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook" by David George Gordon

See for yourself

David George Gordon, also known as "The Bug Chef," will appear from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bug Blast at the Burke Museum, on the University of Washington campus, 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street, Seattle.

Demonstrations by The Bug Chef will be at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Get the whole scoop on Bug Blast in a story in Friday's A&E section.

Story tags » BooksLibraries & MuseumsCuriositiesCooking

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