business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This morning, I'm going to turn the Eye-Opener over the the Sierra Club. In its new issue, the Club has a story about what it views as one of the next great culinary trends. And I think it speaks for itself...

You have to be careful not to overcook scorpions.

The exoskeleton traps steam, and they're messy when they pop.

"But get it right," said "Bug Chef" David George Gordon to the swarm of curious faces gathered to watch him work, "and they taste like soft-shell crab."

It was Halloween night. I'd trekked across Portland, Oregon, for a bug-cooking demonstration at Paxton Gate, a store that owner Andy Brown describes as "a natural history museum where everything is for sale." Feats of unusual taxidermy covered the walls. There were piranhas, peacocks, and baby lambs mid-frolic. Owl pellets filled a glass jar in one display; another held mouse skeletons sitting upright in tiny royal costumes. It was nightmarish and wonderful, rewarding for the curious but troublesome for the squeamish. Much like what we were about to do.

Bearded and jovial, Gordon calls himself a chef even though he's not associated with any restaurant. He began collecting insect-based recipes in 1996 and two years later published 'The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook,' which includes tonight's two demonstration recipes: tempura-battered mealworms and scorpion scaloppine. Both were made with limited seasoning, Gordon said, because he didn't want to overpower the taste of the insects. Dessert, however, was chapulines (fried grasshoppers) dipped in chocolate. They tasted like chocolate ...

Not chicken?

BTW ... the story also notes that "two years ago in the Netherlands, a chain of Costco-like stores called Sligro began carrying freeze-dried locusts, mealworms, and other whole insects supplied by Dutch company Bugs Originals. The company also makes a prepackaged product called Bugs Nuggets, which are 80 percent chicken and 20 percent mealworms."
Anyway, you can read the whole piece here.

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