The Rentokil Blog UK

My Phrase For The Day Is Unintentional Entomophagy

tuna_penne_arrabiataSo before you enjoy a romantic meal with your sweetheart, you check out the behind the scenes state of the play by looking at a Scores on the Doors star rating. Then when you arrive, what do you choose to eat? Well, how about eating what was meant to be excluded from behind the scenes… Let me explain.

I did some basic internet research regarding people eating what we here at Rentokil consider pests, I felt pretty queasy. Seriously, some of the recipes/menu ideas and images I found on-line were terrible! However, I also learnt a new word for the day: Entomophagy, (not to be confused with entomology) in other words insect eating. Gotta be honest, if I ever personally had to do something similar to a Bushtucker trial, I would probably give up at the first hurdle. However, even scarier is the phrase coined as Unintentional entomophagy, i.e. since it is impossible to totally remove all pests from food, you are probably eating them anyway.

Woodlouse fish sauce anyone? Apparently it is “equal, if not distinctly superior, to shrimp”. Vincent M. Holt extolled the virtues of this and various other insects in his book written way back in 1885 entitled “Why Not Eat Insects?” which is still available to purchase on Amazon today.

insect_food_stallHow about chocolate covered crickets? Yummy. Or the old favourite Insect Crunch? Its like peanut brittle except this particular crunch is down to the addition of stuff like grasshoppers, ants and crickets. Wasp/bee larvae? Popular in China/Japan either deep fried and seasoned with salt and pepper, or cooked with soy sauce and sugar. They’re crunchy and the locals eat them like popcorn. I’m in the sweet popcorn (rather than savoury) camp, but sweet bee larvae, nah, I’ll pass.

Now, how about a bit of extra protein after your delicious insect starter? How about fried rats? These are eaten in Vietnam or Thailand deep fried and seasoned with all kinds of delicious spices. The spices may be delicious, but it would be eating rats that I have the problem with. Spiders, snakes and scorpions also make the grade for Creepy Crawly Cooking – but I’m not entirely sure its for me. Call me a wimp but no thanks…

If you are desperate (!) to do some Entamophogy, visit the World Museum Liverpool website, or see the Entamophogy website recipes but if you want to learn more about what we call pests, look at our pest guides. Happy cooking!

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  1. Brig
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    You can count me out of pest eating too! However, i suppose it is what you grow up with and are used to. I used to love caviar as a child (very odd i know) and had a hissy fit in a supermarket when my mum refused to buy me some(I was 6 years old at the time…i guess). What a spoilt child i know! Course this is all before i learnt that caviar are fish eggs…….i think twice about eating it now, though i probably still would. It is all down to your mind. Mind over matter – if you want to gid into a rat ice cream – be my guest. i will stick to chocolate flavour or pistachio -is that not exotic enough??

    • Posted July 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      My little boy has developed a habit of putting stuff in his mouth before spitting it into my hand. Last weekend he had his first trial of entomophagy – a woodlouse, nice!

  2. Tim
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Err!!! fried rats.

  3. Jarek
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Being in Thailand few years ago, I had some of the local specialities including deep fried locust, larvae, spiders, scorpions etc. and I loved them – they went really well with cold beer just like crisps :) ))
    although, I have to admit, it took me some time (or some more alcohol maybe) to make the first attempt

    just don’t think too much about what you put into your mouth and enjoy the flavours (coming from spices rather than the creatures themselves)

    so it’s all really down to your mind – I’d like to think of myself as being open minded to new food but still a rat (or a dog, as they do in South Korea) would be a step too far

    HINT: when eating locust remove the legs first as they tend to be sharp and can irritate your tongue and throat (suggested to me by a Thai person). Bon appetite!!!

  4. Finnegan
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    To some frogs legs might be disgusting but the French love them – as do I – and in parts of Asia the Sheep’s eye is the delicacy so what can possibly be wrong with a few deep fried mice and rats; their tails will probably be rather like pork crackling. Earthworms dipped in egg and seasoned flour and then deep fried – hmmm; possibly like eating whitebait. The possibilities are endless.

  5. Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Patrick Moore accidentally eat a fly once on the Sky At Night?

    Apparently it just flew in there, makes you wonder what his breath smelt like to attract it in. :|

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