What would you eat if you had to? Humans have time and again proved how resilient we are – like most animals, we do what it takes to survive. Some cultures have even turned it into an art form, turning previously unappetising objects into haute cuisine.
We wouldn’t recommend this as a valid form of pest control.
1) Casu Marzu
This dangerous cheese is considered to be a delicacy and is found mainly in Sardinia. Traditional sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese is taken to a stage of decomposition by the cheese fly, which is deliberately introduced to the cheese. There it lays its eggs and the cheese then becomes infested with live maggots, whose secretions break down the cheese and turn it into a soft, white mush. The maggots can jump up to 15cm when disturbed, so some eaters are advised to wear eye protection when consuming it.
Some diners want their maggots to be cleared from the cheese, others prefer them to remain intact whilst they consume them. Either way, the maggots need to be alive. If they’re dead, the cheese has reached a level of toxicity that makes it unsafe to eat. More unsafe, we should say, because the cheese carries the risk that the maggots will reach the intestine intact and bore through the walls, causing nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and internal haemorrhaging.
2) Deep Fried Scorpions and Spiders
And we’re sure they taste just like chicken. You can deep fry just about anything these days – the deadlier, the better. After all, if you’ve dumped it in boiling hot oil, it’s probably not going to be able attack you. A Vietnamese delicacy, scorpions are taken, fried in hot oil and served with a pinch of salt and a salad garnish. Deep fried tarantulas are also all the rage. Apparently if you can get past your arachnophobic tendencies, this South East Asian delicacy tastes a little like soft-shell crab.
3) Deep Fried Crickets and Cockroaches
High in protein, crickets are prized for their crunchy texture and sold in vast batches. Occasionally they are covered in chocolate to make a sweet treat.
4) Huhu grubs
The Huhu is a large longhorn beetle found in New Zealand. The fat, white larvae goes through several stages of growth and it is best to catch it when it is fully grown, has ceased feeding (so its gut is empty) and has not yet developed wings and a shell.
You can eat Huhu raw or roasted – their skin goes crisp and the inside stays creamy. Allegedly the grub tastes like buttery chicken or almonds.
5) Toasted ants
Popular in South America, ants are harvested during the rainy season and the queen is caught and her wings removed. The queen ants are then soaked in salt water, roasted in a pot and sold in paper cones as a snack to munch on whilst you watch a movie at the cinemas. Because of their growing popularity, the ants are in danger of being over-harvested.
Before you finish gagging, we’ll leave you with this thought: gelatine is made from boiled beef bones, shellac is made from crushed insect cocoons, and the FDA allows for a certain amount of insect fragments in packaged foods.
- This image is from FreeDigitalPhotos (ID:10075678)
Kahmen Lai is a freelance writer who specialises in food reviews and writing recipes. In her spare time, she also writes for Boston extermination company Insight Pest.