The same old response to seeing a furry tarantula spider isn’t questioning what it tastes like.
David George Gordon wants to change all that.
Gordon seems on the brand new six-part Smithsonian Net collection “Bug Bites,” premiering Monday on smithsonianchannel.com/bugbites. The collection highlights the worldwide artwork of cooking and consuming bugs.
“We have now such unhealthy attitudes about bugs that we don’t even take into account them as meals,” says Gordon, 68. “Eighty % of the world’s cultures eats bugs — we’re really the oddballs.”
The Seattle native and self-proclaimed “bug chef” has written a number of books on the topic, together with “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook,” first printed in 1998.
“Bug Bites” options Gordon performing cooking demonstrations, together with dishes reminiscent of “Tarantula Tempura” and “Waxworm Stir Fry.”
The collection additionally options Joseph Yoon (founding father of New York based mostly catering firm Yummy Eats and 2017’s “Brooklyn Bugs” occasion), Omar Rodriguez (head chef at DC restaurant Oyamel — who’s served grasshopper tacos at his eatery) and Megan Miller (San Francisco-based co-founder of Bitty Meals, a startup in search of to enhance the worldwide meals system).
So why, Gordon is requested, anybody ought to eat bugs other than his reasoning that different cultures do it?
“For one factor, bugs are actually superfoods,” he says. “They’re wealthy in nutritional vitamins and minerals; crickets are stuffed with calcium, for instance. Termites have numerous zinc in them. So you can get all of your dietary wants that method.
“The opposite factor is, they’re far more environmentally pleasant,” he says. “When you take a look at how a lot it takes to elevate a cow for beef or a pig — it takes like 16 kilos of grain to get 1 pound of steak. With crickets, it could take a few pound and a half of grain to get a pound of protein. I’ll save 14 and a half kilos. That’s lots. The opposite factor is the water assets. It’s obscene how a lot goes into elevating cattle.”
Gordon has at all times been a hobbyist chef, however he didn’t deal with bugs till he was in his 40s. Prior to that, he was a author specializing in scientific topics. In 1996, he wrote a e-book known as “The Full Cockroach: A Complete Information to the Most Despised (And Least Understood) Creature on Earth.”
“I had somewhat part [in the book] on elevating [cockroaches] as meals and for drugs,” he says. “And that’s what turned me onto the truth that there are all these scientific stories on the market that talked about different cultures [eating bugs].”
He nonetheless makes use of science journals as a supply of inspiration for a lot of of his recipes. For one recipe involving cooking dragonflies in curried coconut, he says he learn a scientific journal about how that is accomplished in Indonesia.
There’s nonetheless a common cultural stigma about consuming bugs in America — however Gordon says he’s seen attitudes beginning to change.
“I used to be on Conan O’Brien’s [‘Late Night’] present when it was nonetheless in New York, when the [‘Eat-A-Bug Cookbook’] was new,” he says. “He was very resistant to the concept of consuming these things. Extra just lately I used to be on ‘The Late Late Present with James Corden,’ and since folks’s attitudes are altering, thank heavens, everyone ate the bugs — even the band members.”