Insect Chef, Herb Entrepreneur and Anti-Nuke Atomic Scientist

MOTHER's Profiles column celebrates little-known environmental heroes who make a difference. This issue includes an insect chef, herb entrepreneur and an anti-nuke atomic scientist.

| March/April 1978

In celebration of little-known MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type folks from all over, including an insect chef, herb entrepreneur and an anti-nuke atomic scientist.

Insect Chef, Herb Entrepreneur and Anti-Nuke Atomic Scientist

In celebration of little-known MOTHER-type folks from all over.

Barbara Carter: Insect Chef

If you'd like to add something "far out" to your family's ho-hum, day-to-day menu, perhaps Californian Barbara J. Carter can pass along a suggestion or two. The reason: Ms. Carter (along with co-author Ronald L. Taylor) has recently published an interesting new cookbook entitled Entertaining With Insects. (Yes, you read it right: Those creepy, crawly, six-legged critters you usually work so hard to keep out of the kitchen are being reinvited in . . . as the main course!)

This 30-year-old high school science teacher has developed 85 recipes with either one or another variety of bug as a major ingredient. And — surprise of surprises — her various taste-testers actually seem to like the fare. She says her son and daughter, for example, are crazy about most of the treats. And when she entertains, guests always prefer delectables like "Cricket Rumaki" and "Sauteed Bacon-Pepper Bees" over the traditional onion dip and cheese spreads.

"Although people in many other countries are open to the idea of cooking with insects," Barbara says, "Americans still have some hangups about the idea . . . even though we eat bugs in our food every day without being aware that we do. For instance, almost any chocolate consumed in this country contains — with the government's OK — a few ground up insects (probably the only nutritional point in its favor). Also, lettuce lice are seldom washed from the leaves we eat . . . they simply add more protein to our meals."

So, armed with that knowledge, Barbara set out to stretch the accidental-bug-in-your-food protein benefit to its extreme by intentionally creating dishes stocked with the critters. According to her calculations, insects provide "meat" far more efficiently than other livestock: [1] Approximately one-half cup of insects nutritionally equals one full cup of beef . . . after fat, bones, and all the additional waste products are removed. And [2] certain species of bugs can be raised in a shoebox — a sort of closet insect ranch — rather than on a multi-acre farm.

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