July 7, 2014
Insects, insects everywhere, but we curl up our nose at this packet of protein. Totally avoidable malnutrition in India.
My first recollection of humans eating insects was in an English documentary (I forget its name) in which Africans were shown eating bees that they had extracted from an bee colony. They seemed to eat the bees together with the honey. Not very sure what I saw, it was when I was around 5 or 6 years old.
Later, one of our servants in Pune (when I was around 20) helped me remove the termite hills in our backyard. He always pocketed the queen termite and took it home – which was in our backyard – to feed his family. Apparently it was a delicacy. I don't recall his 'origins' but he was perhaps from some 'lower' caste or tribe.
In Assam I heard about (did not directly see) tribals who ate insects.
But Youtube is a real eye-opener. Now one can see not only how insects are widely eaten across the world but through google,find out much more than one ever knew before.
South East Asians are flourishing (IQ wise) by eating whatever proteins they can get, while South Asians have the world's lowest IQ and refuse to eat animal protein. Amazing stuff one learns from Youtube. This is called REAL learning.
In South Africa mopane worms are considered a delicacy:"One of the things that Solly most looks forward to about going home to the Limpopo Province is eating mopane worms." [Source]
"mopane worms can be soaked to rehydrate, before being fried until they are crunchy, or cooked with onion, tomatoes and spices and then served with sadza" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonimbrasia_belina]
"Dried mopane worms have become a multimillion-dollar industry, even exported to countries like South Africa and Botswana. They can be found in African restaurants in Paris." [Source]. This is a multi-million dollar business, so it is worth trying to grow in India, if only to export to other countries.
INDIA HAS INSECT EATING KNOWLEDGE
"The report identifies parts of India as being among several places where insects are already a part of traditional diets. The practice of eating them seems to be limited to tribal regions in Assam and central India. Bodos consume insects such as caterpillars, termites, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles every day, according to Hazarika’s initial report. In fact, these insects can be considered a staple. They supply as much nutritional value in terms of proteins and vitamins even when preserved for later consumption. When Hazarika began his studies, his team identified 10 insect species commonly consumed by the Bodos. That number has now grown to 29." [Source]
The study reveals that the community consumes a total of 10 (ten) species of edible insects belonging majorly to Hymenoptera, Hemiptera, Orthoptera and Coleoptera orders. The nutrient values were also found out. As regards the consumption is concerned the study showed that 60% are at larval stage followed by mature 25% and 10% adult and rest live respectively. [Source]
"We prepared a consolidated list of edible and therapeutic insects used in Arunachal Pradesh (N.E. India) by two tribal societies (i.e., the Nyishi of East Kameng and the Galo of West Siang). The list is based on thorough, semi-structured field-interviews with 20 informants of each tribal group. At least 81 species of local insects, belonging to 26 families and five orders of insects, namely Coleoptera (24 species), Orthoptera (17 species), Hemiptera (16 species), Hymenoptera (15 species) and Odonata (9 species), are being used as food among members of these two indigenous societies." [Source]
Bastar has insect-eaters too. And the insects are presumably very good! (if the foul mouthed Gordon Ramsay likes them they must surely be good).
Here's a GREAT commercial opportunity (only thing: we can't have mass harvesting of wild ants, as that will destroy the ecology. We need insect husbandry.
THAILAND IS INSECT HEAVEN
JAPANESE LOVE THEIR INSECT SUSHI
Japanese are enterprising, as well.
AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS GOT A LOT OF PROTEINS FROM INSECTS
"Edible either raw or lightly cooked in hot ashes, they are sought out as a high-protein food by Indigenous Australians. The raw witchetty grub tastes like almonds and when cooked the skin becomes crisp like roast chicken while the inside becomes light yellow, like a fried egg" [Source]
There are a number of books on cooking insect:
FAO strongly recommends insects in the diet
Edible Insects: Click to download
And this (click for the book).
DO I EAT INSECTS?
Well, no, but if hygienically processed and cleaned, and cooked according to the best recipes, I'm willing to try them out. And from what I hear, some of the insects are true delicacies. Some bugs are apparently tastier than prawns. Same texture, even better taste.
In any event, it is important to explore this avenue of protein and food for mankind. And particularly for malnourished India, which is virtually floating on a sea of insects.