[at-l] "There's a Bug on My Plate" ...or... how eArThworm could be a cannibal

Linda Patton lpatton at fsu.edu
Fri Dec 10 10:53:27 CST 2010

Courtesy of Backpacker Mag.
Enjoy?  :-P  
~~ eArThworm

There's a bug on my plate

In other "less civilized" parts of the globe, you'll run into bug eaters (entomophagists) 
who crunch crickets with gusto and burp beetles with satisfaction.  But somewhere in 
the evolutionary process, we decided that insects and worms should be inedible.  So 
where did we go astray? I have no idea. All I do know is that if you're ever short of grub 
and deep in the bush, insects can stave off your hunger in a healthy way.

Bug-eating basics 

Nutritionally, when you're talking earthworms, you're talking about a mess of protein 
in a little package: 60 to 70 percent on a dry weight basis, and a generally wholesome 
food source.  Worms, like most invertebrates, don't keep well and should be thrown into 
the pot still twitching or very soon after the twitching stops. After you've gathered a few 
handfuls, rinse in cold water. A colander works best, but you can also throw them in 
your water bottle, shake them up and pour off the water.  After a thorough cleansing, 
your food will be stunned and easier to handle. Pour them out on a clean cloth, carefully 
pick out the debris or any long-dead specimens, and pat the remainder dry. 

Worms are better if for about 24 hours you keep them in a container of dirt with a table-
spoon or two of corn meal, bran meal, or some other dry food the worms will eat. They'll 
seek out and feed on the grain, which pushes any dirt in their innards out the back end, 
and voila, you have stuffed, grit-free, read-to-cook worms. You can boil them and dive 
right in, or make your taste buds happier by spicing things up. Here are a few suggestions:  

Earthworm Patty Supreme 

1½ pounds thoroughly smushed earthworms 
½ cup melted butter 
1 teaspoon lemon rind 
1½ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon pepper 
1 beaten egg 
1 cup dry bread crumbs 
1 tablespoon butter 

Combine worms, melted butter, lemon rind, salt, and pepper. Shape into patties, 
dip in egg, then bread crumbs. Fry in a pan with butter for about 10 minutes, 
turning once.  

Basic Cooked Bugs 

1 cup cleaned bugs (worms, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and/or honeybees) 
2 cups water 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 dashes pepper 
1 tablespoon butter 
½ teaspoon sage (optional) 
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 

Place all ingredients in a pan. Bring to boil. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until 
tender. Mashing everything into an unrecognizable glump will help with the first nibble.

Visit my website at http://booksforhikers.com
"Better to be lost in the woods than in a maze of cubicles…"

More information about the at-l mailing list