Eight-Legged Eats

April 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

While doing research for a story you will run into things you would never expect. One story led me to look into situations where spiders are eaten and associated facts. What did I discover? Well, aside from learning that spiders supposedly taste like peanut butter, I also found out that they are cooked and eaten in some recipes in Cambodia (http://www.cambodiancooking.com.au/). Mention that to most people, and they’ll cringe and say, “ewww!”

Are spiders such an unusual dish? Arachnids are not far off from crustaceans, and we happily eat crab, lobster and shrimp (all things a non-seafood-eating friend of mine likes to refer to as bugs.) And how about escargot? Why would eating snails somehow be acceptable but the idea of chowing down on the creepy-crawlies with eight legs makes you want to spew?

Ever hear of chocolate-covered ants? Apparently those are available for consumption too.

Insects, spiders, worms, grubs, slugs – all manner of wriggly invertebrates are high in protein and could conceivably end up on the menu. What decides what we choose to eat and what we turn away? The choice for all cultures is not the same.

Some people have even gone so far as to cast aside societal reservations and eat the things that disgust their neighbour. Survival shows and reality TV do it all the time, showing us close-ups of people sucking the juices out of a camel spider, crunching into a still wriggling cockroach or spitting up the giant grub that just exploded its guts into their mouth, for the shock factor. Our local natural history museum has presented a “cooking with bugs” series that has been an effective draw. You can even find entire cookbooks on the topic, such as David Gordon’s Eat-a-Bug Cookbook:


or how about Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, Phd’s Creepy Crawly Cuisine:


How many of you groaned, uttered a heart-felt “gross!”, or even clutched at your belly to stop it from doing flip-flops at the thought?

Some of you may be thinking that these are novelty cookbooks, which they are, but only because our society has decided to discount bugs as a proper food source. It’s that novelty, however that has brought us such treats as the Cricket Lick-it, a candy-encased bug, and its kin, a candy-coated scorpion (my husband and I bought one of these for my sister-in-law, one Christmas). You can find them both at Hotlix, along with many other buggy delights.


So what do you think – if you have the chance to sample some arachnid cuisine – would you go for it?


1 Comment

  1. theleagueofelder said,

    There’s an excellent book by photographer Peter Menzel and his wife called “Man Eating Bugs” where they travel the world eating virtually anything, including the bird-eating spider, which just about made me hurl.

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