The Food Insects Newsletter
Food Insect Festivals Of North America
November 1997. Volume 10, Issue #3.
Florence V. Dunkel, Department of Entomology, Montana State University-Bozeman
Who eats insects in the US and Canada? The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Approves of Insects in Processed Food up to certain levels. The US Military trains its people to collect wild insects in Survival Situations. Tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians consume insects each year at Insect Festivals.
During the past 10 years, 1988 through 1997, the editors and contributors to The Food Insect Newsletter have chronicled a steadily rising interest in entomophagy in the U.S.A. and Canada. We have noted the increase in space and time devoted to food insects in the newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. In the past year, we documented a rise in the . publication of books on food insects, photography books, cookbooks, and others for the general public. We have described, in the U.S.A. and Canada, the rise of local insect awareness festivals. The festivals, themselves, are an interesting phenomenon that may lead to a lasting change in Euro-America culture. Often these festivals involve thousands of young people, primary grades through college. Many festivals are associated with Insectaria, insect zoos, and park reserves. Other festivals are associated with Departments of Entomology and national or regional meetings of entomologists. It is the involvement of significant numbers of young people that is, perhaps, the strongest harbinger of "changing times." The present young generation of Euro-Americans is growing up with the idea that some insects are beneficial and some are actually good to eat. Let' s take a walk through offerings at food insect festivals in the U.S.A. and Canada. The following is a representative summary of who i5 doing what at some of these festivals. What environments have spawned these festivals? What is responsible for their extraordinary, largely unpredicted, popularity?
New Orleans, Louisiana, The Audubon Institute.
Zack Lemann, Education Coordinator for the Termite Outreach Program of the Audubon Zoo. Audubon Institute, 6500 Magazine Street 70118 (phone: 504-861-2537 ext. 6170; fax: 504-861 -2426). Insects are clearly an interest of The Audubon Zoo. The Zoo recently closed the butterfly house that ran for five seasons and will soon be adding an lnsectarium (2001). The Audubon Zoo is located adjacent to Audubon Park on beautiful, historic St. Charles Avenue, across from the main administrative building of Tulane University. Although the Zoo is centrally located for visits by tourists, school groups, and families, a major part of the Audubon Zoo's education effort is outreach programs which travel to schools, community groups, festivals and fairs. One of the popular programs is the "Bugmobile" which contains live spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and insects and is sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the public education portion of a large, multifaceted grant dealing with the Formosan subterranean termite.
Food insects, as well as "zoo insects," play an important role in the new "insect focus" of the Audubon Institute. "Taste of the Wild Side," most New Orleans folk will tell you, is a well-publicized event in Spring of each year. New Orleans has a mixture of many cultures, each of which places a strong emphasis on food that is part of distinct cuisines, several of which are quite well-known, e.g., Cajun, Creole. These cuisines use a number of arthropods, such as "crawdads" (crayfish). Mr. Lemann has been expanding the New Orleans culinary repertoire of arthropods in several ways recently and would like to include the use of one of the new and most destructive pests in New Orleans, the Formosan termite. This termite is now threatening the old wooden structures of the French Quarter and the lovely old homes and live oak trees (100 and 200 years old, respectively) along St. Charles Avenue and other famous areas of the city. Mr. Lemann suggests to the city, "Why not eat them?" To introduce the idea of termites as a culinary target to New Orleans cultures, Mr. Lemann would like a more reliable, non-insecticide sprayed source and is hoping some of the Newsletter readers can point him to a good source of edible Formosan termites. It is probably not possible that the Formosan subterranean termite will become so popular for eating that local termite populations decline below the economic injury level.
This has happened with non-pest, food insects in Bali and temporarily, locally, with locusts in Africa. It is an interesting concept, managing pest insects by developing them into a sought-after delicacy.
Food insect festivals are an excellent way to introduce new culinary ideas. Originally, the Audubon Institute organized an annual event called "The Incredible Edible Insect." Over I ,000 people attended each year it was offered (1997 and 1998). The Edible Insect Event was held at the Louisiana Nature Center (operated by the Audubon Institute) located in the eastern area of New Orleans, near Lake Pontchartrain and 10 miles from downtown. These "wild" (not currently raised for food) cookery events were held in June. The first year, 7 insect dishes were offered. The second year, 10 dishes were presented. These included: Jambalaya with crickets and mealworms (with rice, tomato paste, and celery); Toffee Surprise with chopped roasted mealworms; Cricket (roasted) Pancakes (Mr. Lemann calls them fritters); Mealworm Minestrone (from Taylor and Carter' s cookbook Entertaining with Insects, 1992,160 pp.); and chocolate-covered roasted crickets. The first year, Mr. Lemann's crew did "Crawlines," similar to New Orleans pralines (pronounced "prawleens") but with mealworms. This is quite a difficult dish to prepare since the sugar has to be cooked to exactly the right temperature and then simmered until an exact consistency is achieved. For a precise recipe, see this issue of the Newsletter, recipe section.
In 1999, the Edible Insect event was combined with another annual event focused on eating "wild" (not raised for food) vertebrates. It was called "Taste of the Wild Side" and held in March for the first time. Attendance was only 600 this year, but the March date meant that the Wild Side was competing with many other festivals during this period of New Orleans' best weather. This year, there were the usual insect dishes plus wild honey, alligator, nutria, soft shelled crawfish, wild duck, and Louisiana bowfin caviar. Five insect dishes were used this year: chocolate chirp (This is a Zack Lemann name) cookies (house crickets, Achaeta domestica); poached waxmoth (Galleria mellonella) larvae on plain wheat crackers with honey; banana mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) bread; crispy Cajun crickets (A. domestica). After oven roasting, Tony Chachere's seasoning was added. A culinary cue gleaned from Zack Lemann is: when making banana bread, chop the oven-roasted mealworms instead of putting them in the batter whole. Chopped mealworms make the slicing of the banana bread smoother. Banana mealworm bread was new this year. For many of the aforementioned recipes, see the recipe section of the next issue (Volume 11, Number 1) of the Newsletter. Note: some humans have mealworm allergies, even those who do not have a reaction to other insects, crabs, shrimp and other arthropods [Frey et al. l 996, Allergy and Asthma Proc. 17:215-219].
New Orleans, Louisiana, The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. (Note: Because of the late printing of this 1997 issue, we are accurately able to "predict" future events. The art gallery feast is one of these predictions.) Art galleries are an unusual place to encounter an insect feast. In New Orleans, however, this has already occurred at least once. In spring 1999, The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery was showing an exhibit entitled "Carnivale Animale" by a local artist, Alex Beard. The art works were all animal-related. To increase attendance at the exhibit, the Gallery decided to offer an insect dinner. Zack Lemann (of the Audubon Institute) was engaged to plan and orchestrate the feast. Thirty people were served. The main course was angel hair pasta with peas, crickets, and ham in a cream sauce. A side dish served was sautéed mushrooms and mealworms in garlic and butter. For this mealworm dish, Mr. Lemann used the super mealworm, Zophobas morio. To the Newsletter Editors, this dinner menu sounded simply delicious. (Note: The Newsletter editors prepared the same mealworm dish, but with the smaller mealworm species, T. molitor, for the Entomological Society of America 1999 Pacific Branch, Eugene, Oregon, with rave reviews by many of the 50 entomologists present.) The Ferrara Gallery dinner was Mr. Lemann's first time preparing for a non-public food insect event. Mr. Lemann summarized these two experiences, the public festival and the "sit-down" formal dinner as follows, "For the dinner, 30 people came specifically to eat insects as the main entree for the meal and so it was significantly more special. The guests were specifically invited and it was not a "taste-if-you-dare thing." All but one were first time insect eaters, but it was a serious, dignified event. The five members of the Board of Directors of the Newsletter have each also had similar experiences contrasting the public festival and the formal dinner experience. They would underscore Mr. Lemann's statement. We would all agree that there is an important place for both types of events. Hopefully, we will begin to see more of the serious dinner events in the future.
Los Angeles, California, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Ralph M. Parsons Insect Zoo, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Arthur Evans, Insect Zoo Director (phone 213-763-3558; fax: 213-744-1042; e-mail; email@example.com; WWW.NHM.ORG). The Insect Fair is an annual event hosted by the Ralph M. Parsons Insect Zoo. The Insect Fair began in 1987. The attendance began at 4,000 and by 1997 reached 7,000. Over the years, several vendors sold a variety of food insects at the Fair, usually in the form of candy. (Because of the late printing of this 1997 issue, we are accurately able to "predict" future events. This food insect demonstration is one of these predictions.) By 1999, the two-day event was attended by over 8,000 people. 1999 marked the first year actual food insect dishes were prepared. Zack Lemann (see preceding paragraphs) of The Audubon Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana, served as chef for this introductory event. There was considerable local media coverage (CBS, NBC, FOX ) for the 2-day event. On Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 May 1999, Mr. Lemann gave two half-hour presentations (combined slide show and cooking demonstration) each day. An average of 250 people attended each of the four sessions. For these presentations, Mr. Lemann prepared crispy Cajun crickets and poached wax moth larvae appetizers (see the recipe section of the next issue of the Newsletter, Volume 11, Number 1). One day before the event was to begin, the Los Angeles County Health Department decided to require all persons preparing food to have Health Department Certification. This was impossible on such short notice, so the only people who were allowed to taste the insect dishes were employees of the Natural History Museum. The audience could only watch. In spite of these constraints, all went very well. At the end of the presentations, commercially-available flavored (barbecue, cheese, and Cajun) mealworms were distributed. Three hundred packages were set aside for distribution at the end of each presentation and they disappeared almost immediately. Art Evans indicated, when asked about the future, "The next time we pursue a food insect event, we will probably contract a licensed kitchen to prepare the insects off site, thereby alleviating bureaucratic health concerns." Note: in a future issue of the Newsletter, we will address health clearance issues for large insect feasts. Part of the difficulty is that prior to preparation, insects are considered meat and under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and when the insects are prepared as processed food, it is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that makes the rules. In this issue, we did review a book chapter on U.S. regulation of food insects. There seems to be a widespread lack of information on whose permission to ask for and when to ask. In Canada, the process for obtaining health clearance seems to be more clear.
Prior to and after the event, there were news segments that included the food insect portion on 3 of the 4 major networks. According to Art Evans, "Food insects serve to add to the "bizarre" and exotic image of insects at insect events, hence our marketing department has a lot of interest in promoting food insects as a "hook" at the LA Insect Fair."
West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University, "The Bug Bowl." For more information contact Jenny Franklin, administrative assistant for student services, Dept. of Entomology (phone; 765-494-9061; e-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org). This festival, was founded by Dr. Tom Turpin (phone; 765-494-4568; fax 765-494 2152; e-mail; email@example.com) in 1990. This event actually started as a class project, part of an insects and society course entitled "Insects: Friend and Foe" (Entomology 105). Public involvement, according to Dr. Turpin, was a nice surprise. The first public event occurred in 1990. That year, on the day news reporters had come to campus to interview Dr. Turpin about corn insects, his research/extension specialty, Dr. Turpin's undergraduate students were preparing for their class cockroach e~ent. During the corn insect interview, Dr. Turpin's students interrupted him numerous times to get assistance in marking their cockroaches for the annual Entomology 105 Roach Races. Somehow, the pending races made the local news, and that evening, 100 people arrived to watch the students race their cockroaches. It was the public response to this announcement that led to the idea of an insect-based, on campus festival. So the next year, 1991, a weekend was set aside for the event. This event was conceived as a family occasion and although school groups attended, no special invitations were sent to schools. At the 1991 event, food insects were presented as a demonstration. Specifically, spice cakes, prepared earlier, were given to the public for a taste test. In one cake, 1/4th of the flour was substituted with ground mealworms, larvae of Tenebrio molitor. Participants could not distinguish the mealworm cake from the cake without mealworms. In fact, in a more formal evaluation of the spice cakes, Home Economics professors at Purdue University preferred the mealworm cake to the spice cake without mealworms, because of the moister and coarser texture of the mealworm spice cake. Chocolate Chirpy Cookies were distributed to participants and other interested folks. From then on, students took over operation of the Food Insects Booth.
In 1992, The Bug Bowl was held in conjunction with the Horticultural Show. The kick-off event for 1992 was a gourmet insect dinner for the highest officials representing "town and gown" or community and University leadership. The mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette, the Dean and vice-president for Academic affairs and other community and University leaders attended the dinner. Preparing the dinner for these dignitaries was Chef Hurbert Schmeider, the chair of the Purdue University Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional, and Tourism Management (School of Consumer and Family Sciences). Head waiter was Dr. Chris Oseto, Chair of the Department of Entomology, Purdue University. Pure beeswax candles contributed to the ambiance. There were other special "kick-off" events to open the festival in later years. At least 2 of the 9 years of the festival, Chef Schmeider, and several other chefs from the University Union facility organized a food insect cook-off the night before the Bug Bowl opened. Entomologists were involved, but the judging was done by professional chefs from the community.
After 1992, the combined events of the Entomology and Horticulture Departments were billed as "Spring Fest." Food insects are now served continuously during the fair at one of the stations in the food booth, located on State Street in front of the Agriculture Administration Building. Items at the Food Booth are free and servings are designed just for tasting not for satisfying large appetites. The Bug Bowl now receives national and international coverage through the Cable News Network (CNN) and International wire services. (See also Vol. 10, No. 1. page 7.)
Because of the late printing of this issue, we are able to predict the following: In 1999, 11,000 people attended the Bug Bowl, even though the weather provided 2 cold and rainy spring days [April 17- 18] . For this event, the Purdue group served Chex mix with wax moth larvae, chocolate chirpy cookies with dry-roasted crickets, Chinese stir fry with mealworms, Tenebrio molitor, in soufflé cups. Fest organizers estimated that about one-third of the crowd stopped by the food insect booth. Faculty and students participated in this booth. Insects were obtained from Rainbow Mealworms and standard Health Service Procedures were followed. Apparently the same rules for handling hot-dogs at an outdoor festival apply to handling food insects. Recipes are handed out at the booth. Chinese stir fry was made in the food booth as an informal cooking demonstration. Cookies and the Chex mix were prepared prior to the festivities. New persons involved with putting on the Bug Bowl were amazed at the large number of people who tried the food insect items and that there always seemed to be a line at the booth. The booth was open continuously throughout the event. In addition to the free items at the Food Insect Booth, students in entomology (The Thomas Say Society) sell chocolate crickets as a fund raiser. Students use dry-roasted crickets and dip them in chocolate. In 1998 and 1999, this project netted $1,000 per year.
Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina Museum of Natural History is the site of a festival called "The Bug Fest." The first of these annual events was held in 1995. At the second annual such event, one impressionable guest, David George Gordon, was so moved that he later wrote The The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook (see book review Volume 11, Number 2, July 1998).- The Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University also assists in the event. For the involvement of the University, contact Dr. Ron Kuhr phone: 919-515-2745; e-mail: ron_kuhr@NCSU.edu or the Department of Entomology phone 919-515-7746 The Museum has had elaborate food insect dishes for the last few years. At "The Bug Fest," participants can buy meals rather than just taste a small sample as in the Purdue Bug Bowl.
Montreal, Canada, The Insectarium, Insectarium de Montreal, 4S81 rue Sherbrooke est, Montreal, HlX 2B2 Canada. Marjolaine Giroux is the Coordinator of the Insect Tasting Event and an Entomologist with the Educational Service of the Insectarium, phone: 514-872 0663; fax: 514-872-0662; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The lnsectarium, largest in North America, was the first North American Institution whose food insects festivals, called "Insect Tastings," achieved 5 digit attendance numbers on an annual basis. This festival has occurred every year since its inauguration in 1993. Until 1997, the festival was three weekends (six days total) and attendance was over 20,000 per year (for additional information see the Newsletter Vol. 9, No. l,1996, pp. l -2). In 1997, the attendance increased to a record of 25,000 people at Insect Tastings. Because of the late printing of this issue, we are also able to predict the following: In 1998, the attendance was again 25,000 people. Part of this phenomenal attendance may have been due to the Festival being expanded to sixteen days, two weeks and three weekends. The incredible Valentine' s Day Gala opening event of previous years had been abandoned by 1999. "Insect Tastings" of 1999 was advertised as an Oriental feast with mealworm imperial rolls, Szechuan scorpions, glazed cake with black ants and many other dishes. Chef Nicole-Anne Gagnon presided during the 16-day festival and on Saturdays and Sundays provided cooking demonstrations for guests at the Insectarium . Cooperating with Chef Gagnon was Jean-Louis Themis (co-author with the Insectarium of Des Insectes a Croquer: Guide de decouvertes 1997 les Editions de l'Homme (see review this Newsletter issue p.8) and a team of students from the Institut de tourisme et d'hotellerie du Quebec. In conjunction with the gustatory event, the film Banquet in Bangkok was shown as well as clips from the film Giant Tarantulas in which the Piaroa Native Americans in Venezuela catch, cook and eat the world's largest tarantula. Perhaps the amazing number of attendees at the 1999(27,000 people) festival was due to the advertising. Flyers to announce the event stated, "Our Insect Tastings are the perfect way to enjoy a new taste sensation, and to discover a protein-rich source of food valued in many African, Asian and South American countries. Step out of our North American culinary straitjacket and dare to try some Oriental style morsels at this year' s Insect Tastings." Admission was not charged for the event, only for admission to the Insectarium and Botanical Gardens: (in Canadian dollars) adults, $6.75; seniors and students, $5.25; and children, $3.50. Summer fees are slightly more expensive. This is the admission fee whether or not there is an Insect Tasting Event in progress.
In 2000, the Food Insect Festival will be open for school groups by appointment only from February 21 -25. Reservations can be made for 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. The public will be welcome February 19-20 and February 26 to March 5, 2000 from 1 to 4 pm. Chef Nicole Anne Gagnon will again be creating the dishes. For the food insect festival in 2000, only 7 items will be chosen. Planning for each event takes an entire year. These 7 dishes for the year 2000 festival will also include some non-insect arthropods, such as scorpions from China as well as ants prepared according to Chinese culinary tradition. There will be a dish with phasmids (walking sticks), and other dishes with the more "traditional USA and Canadian standbys," wax moth larvae, Galleria mellanella; house crickets, Acheta domestica; and mealworms. The mealworms, in 2000, however, will also be somewhat innovative. Tenebrio molitor is the standby species and larvae are the "standby form" in Canadian and U.S.A. insect culinary tradition. In 2000, the Insectarium will use the super mealworm, Zoophobas morio, and the pupal stage only. It is possible that this item will become a new U.S.A./Canadian standby since it overcomes small size and heavy sclerotization (chitin) problems.
The seventh dish that will make the final selection will be either locusts or African caterpillars, the mopane. The choice will depend on availability. In the past, migratory locusts, Locusta migratoria, were an outstanding favorite of the public. The Insectarium obtained the locusts as a byproduct of scientific research in Ontario, but with changing research priorities, these are no longer available. Large quantities of mass-reared food insects is a perennial problem in the USA and Canada. In this second decade of existence, a new function of the Newsletter may be to serve as a clearing house for commercial insect suppliers and directors of large events such as the Montreal festival. The Insectarium has served mopane twice in the past, each time they were brought to Montreal in a dried form from Africa by an entomologist. It is really only possible if someone hand carries them into Canada (or the USA). The Chef for the Insectarium event served them both re-hydrated and dry. Re-hydrated, it was soft and somewhat juicy in the interior. When dry, some people thought it tasted like wood. Some people really liked them re-hydrated, some specifically preferred it dry, and some people did not like it. It sounds as if mopane are like any specialty food such as escargot, oysters, mussels, and scallops. Some people like them very much and some do not.
Finding appropriate insects for such a large festival can be a monumental problem. Those involved with planning the Montreal food insect festival always need new insects for their tasting event. For several years, the Nepalese dish, Bacuti was served. Bee brood (=the larvae and pupae of bees still in the comb), which this Asian dish requires was difficult to work with but the bee keeper of the Insectarium staff had developed a method of squeezing the comb (extracting the brood), packaging it and freezing it. Now. however, this labor intensive method is too expensive. Wax moth larvae are used by the Insectarium when dry, actually dry roasted in oven just like crickets. According to Ms. Giroux, "Just eat it, it tastes like bacon; Salty." Termites would be an excellent addition to the offerings of the Insectarium . Apparently they are a lot of work, and, perhaps, difficult to obtain.
Insects served at the Montreal Insectarium are prepared with care by The Institut de Tourisme et d'Hotellerie du Quebec (ITHQ) in keeping with specific quality standards set by the Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ). Every year, visitors consume an average of 100,000 mealworms, 60,000 crickets, 10,000 locusts, 10,000 honeybees, and 5,000 silkworm pupae at the Insect Tastings.
Cleveland, Ohio, Metro Park, "Bugfest" was first held in August 1997 (See also Vol. 10, No. l, p.6) in the Garfield Park Nature Center in Garfield Park Reservation. Entomologists served chocolate chirp cookies, mealworm spice cake and hot bug-and jalapeno dip. Cleveland MetroParks was the sponsor. For additional information contact John Stinson, Cleveland Metro Park, 4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44144, telephone: 216-351 -6300 ext. 274.
Edmonton, Alberta, Provincial Museum of Alberta. The first food insect festival was held in October 1996 in conjunction with "Bug World," an exhibit of giant robotic insects. One thousand marinated crickets wrapped in bacon as well as cookies with cricket and mealworm flour were served (see Volume 9, No. 3, pp. 9 and 11).
Washington DC, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History also holds a "Bugfest." One of our new members alerted us to the event held on the mall. The Cajun fried crickets and mealworm caramels were outstanding we were told (see Volume 11, Number 1, Letters to the Editor).
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Insectarium, Jennifer Bush, Director (Phone 215-338-3000) has an annual food insect festival in January. The festival usually consists of three consecutive weekends. Items such as pizza and Chex mix are prepared, but due to Pennsylvania restrictions on any food prepared at a fair concession or restaurant, these items can only be demonstrated and not served to the public. To serve these items to the public, the same regulations that a restaurant meets has to be met by any group serving food insects to the public. The interesting item about this Insectarium that holds the food insect events is that it is housed and supported by an exterminating company.
Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University has had a food insect festival run entirely by the students.
Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois, Dr. May Berenbaum (phone: 217-333-7784; fax: 217-244-3499; e-mail: email@example.com). Predating all of these food insect festivals of North America was the Fear Film Festival, an insect horror movie festival with the usual munchable treats, peanuts and popcorn, in addition to food insects. It is possible that this festival was initiated in 1984-1985, the first of al I the North American (Euro-American, that is) that featured food insects. This festival has now expanded to include cockroach races as well.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA), (phone: 301 -731 -4535; fax: 301-731-4538; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; and http://www.entsoc.org). What more appropriate gatherings at which to serve food insects than assemblies of members of the ESA! The first major food insect event that the Editor recalls at ESA meetings was the Purdue University Mixer at the National meetings in 1990 held in Indianapolis, Indiana. This event featured cricket hor d'ouerves of all kinds, including some cheese puff items whose unique taste and texture I still remember. Orchestrating the event was the Director of the Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional, and Tourism Department at Purdue University, Mr. Hubert Schmeider, who prepared the dishes in the hotel kitchen with his staff from the University. Also involved was Dr. Tom Turpin, Professor of Entomology, Purdue University and the then immediate past President of the ESA.
The next food insect event I recall at national meetings was a presentation I gave in the Formal Conference on Teaching (Reno, Nevada 1991). The presentation was at 8:30 a.m. so I chose a fruit-based dish that I developed, entitled "Curried Grasshoppers." The shredded coconut and raisins were a new taste with the excellent Bozeman-reared grasshoppers, Melanopus sanguinipes. About 250 people were present and a San Francisco TV station did a news segment on it, filmed on location (copies of this newscast are available for educational purposes from the Food Insect Newsletter). The next food insect feed of which I am aware was an address I gave for the Formal Conference on International Affairs (Nashville, TN, December 1997). The main objective of the presentation was to explore the dangers of not incorporating food insect issues into integrated pest management programs in countries where there is a food insect tradition (which is everywhere except the Euro American portion of the US and other European-based cultures). This symposium was attended by about 150 entomologists and we served grasshopper stir fry. The following day, I did a live cooking demonstration for Opryland Radio that aired during rush hour that day.
After each National ESA meeting for the past 5 years or so, there has been an "Insect Expo." This event, basically a one-day fair, generally draws 30004,000 students bussed in with their teachers from local elementary and secondary schools. Since the national ESA meetings rotate to each region of the USA, it is a new community almost every year. Usually a food insect booth is part of the Fair. Thus, this event alone exposes thousands of different teachers and young students to entomophagy each year.
Regional meetings of the ESA have also had their share of food insect events. For the 1995 keynote address at the ESA Southeastern Branch in Charleston, South Carolina, l gave a general introduction to food insects around the world while some of the students at Clemson University prepared insects for the ca. 250 entomologists at the opening ceremonies. The "chef" of that event was Mr. David Jenkins (who later became my graduate student and following his M.S. in Entomology became a Board Member of the Newsletter. Mr. Jenkins and his colleagues served waxmoth larvae (Galleria melonella) creole and grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) stir fry. This year, the organizer of the 1995 event, Dr. Joseph Culin, organized a food insect session, including a cooking demonstration, for a mini-insect expo for teachers following the Southeastern Branch ESA meetings (1999) held in Florida. David Jenkins, now a Ph.D. student at University of Georgia was also involved in this presentation.
Invertebrates in Captivity (Robin Roche, organizer of food insect portion of meetings, phone: 602-621-1153) is an organization of professionals who raise insects, generally for zoo exhibits, insectaria, park reserve exhibits, and butterfly houses and who meet annually for information exchange. Also appropriate at these annual meetings is the cooking and serving of food insects. In 1997, Robin Roche organized both a pre-conference workshop in a professional kitchen for the preparation of insect appetizers (see Vol. 10, no. l . p. 6) and a formal symposium on food insects. Conference attendees were then able to sample the results of the workshop at the opening event of the conference . Newsletter patron, Dr. Mitsuhashi, was featured guest speaker.
Editors Postscript: In 1999, the Education Symposium of the Pacific Branch ESA held in Eugene, Oregon, had both the Editor and Associate Editor of the Newsletter involved in the Food Insect presentation. I gave a slide presentation and Robert Diggs was the "chef," assisted by students from the Department of Entomology, Oregon State University. We served bachuti (a Nepalese dish) for hor d'oeuvres. Dr. Lynn Royce, organizer and moderator of the event supplied the bee brood (a frame of wax chambers containing larvae and pupae of the honey bee, Apis mellifera). Under Dr. Royce's guidance the bee brood was carefully cooked (similar to preparing scrambled eggs). The bee brood was served on crackers with various garnishes including olives, parsley, and pimento. Mealworm tacos were the main entre. (The Associate Editor's success at preparation of this dish was discovered by fellow faculty at the Montana State University College of Business and so he did a "command performance" for one of their Fourth of July social events, thus illustrating the impact of these festivals and public social food insect events on informal cultural practices.) Dessert was Chocolate Chirpy Cookies (the house cricket, Acheta domestica, was the "chirpy") which I prepared the evening prior to leaving for the meetings.
In December of 2000, the Entomological Societies of Canada and America are meeting jointly in Montreal. The possibility is being discussed of having food insects the opening night of the meetings. Marjolaine Giroux, Entomologist with the Educational Service of the Insectarium at the Montreal Insectarium and member of the ESA local arrangements committee, will keep us informed of the specifics of this event. Visits to the Insectarium will be arranged for attendees and possibly some symposium presentations will address issues raised in this article about food insects, e.g., governmental inspection, reliable availability of large quantities through mass rearing, and the rapidly increasing interest of the public in Canada and the United States in consumption of food insects. Members are encouraged to contribute posters and papers related to food insects in the regular contributed sessions.
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