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October 11, 2011 > Pat Kite's Garden: Cricket Chow

Pat Kite's Garden: Cricket Chow

By Pat Kite

Have you eaten a cricket lately? According to World Ark magazine, Insects are the current gourmets dining rage. In addition to crickets, connoisseurs of fine food are chowing down on waxworm fritters, mopane worms, palm weevils, weaver ants, and mealworms.

Do you like peanuts, but are allergic? Try roasting locusts, the taste is supposed to be similar. Does seafood give you a rash? Avoid the fish by substituting maggots, which make a tasty ceviche when placed in a citrus marmalade. And if herring has too much salt for your diet, add black witch moth larvae to cheese fondue for a similar palate treat.

There are 1462 recordable edible insects. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is not only a way to increase protein in your diet, it's hoped that the trend will decrease the use of insecticides worldwide. Although I am known for eating just about anything, as my scale can attest, I have yet to try deliberately munching on a bug. I also might feel guilt about eating a cricket. I rather like them chirping about in my garden. Occasionally one wanders into my house, chirp, chirp, and chirp. I usually catch it in a jar and deposit it outside.

Yes, I know that crickets eat seeds, seedlings and small fruits, but adults of some types munch on pesky aphids and caterpillars. A 1933 Court case, Ben Hur Holding Corp. v Rox found a cricket infestation to be quite O.K. Apparently, a tenant felt too many crickets were inhabiting his living quarters and tried to withhold his rent payment. The judge decided against him. "...while a cricket is technically an insect and a bug," the judge ruled, "it would appear from the study of his life that instead of being obnoxious, he is an intellectual little fellow, with certain attainments of refinement and an indefatigable musician par excellence." Perhaps this renter should have considered eating his crickets.

One hundred grams of cricket contain 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 75.8 mg calcium, 185.3 mg of phosphorous, 9.5 mg of iron and a batch of B vitamins. If perhaps you want some cricket recipes, check out the Internet. Recipes, bug-raising advice and general information: www.insectsarefood.com and www.girlmeetsbug.com.

Or, for the kids, pay a visit to the biggest live insect store in the country located in our own Concord, California. The Biggest Little Bug Shop in America, edible, pet and weird insects is owned by Ken the Bug Guy. www.kenthebugguy.com. The shop is located at 1717 Solano Way #10. Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you need to telephone: (925) 827-2847.

My grandson, the science fan, is going to love this place. Chirp.

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