The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook proudly proclaims on its cover "33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes and their kin." You just have to pick up it and flick through – the desire to see these insect-related recipes is unstoppable.
"I am a science writer by profession," says author David George Gordon, who pens science articles for titles like National Geographic Kids and also works for a University of Washington research program into ocean issues. "I love cooking because I love eating.
"I had written a book called The Compleat Cockroach that was intended for people who live in Manhattan apartments and want to know everything there is to know about cockroaches," he said. "And I kept on seeing articles about these people around the world who eat insects. I had a great big folder of these stories."
But is the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook a serious attempt at promoting insect cuisine?
"There is plenty of serious information in there," said David. "There are in-depth essays in each section but the recipes are tongue-in-cheek. I wanted it to be a parody of high-end cookbooks."
Here’s a selection of recipes from the book:
- Three Bee Salad – "This non-traditional salad combines the best of the bee world: the vitamin-rich larvae, plus the high protein adult bees"
- Scorpion Scaloppine – This recipe comes with special scorpion handling tips.
- Curried Termite Stew – "If you are ordering termites by mail, request workers, which are a bit smaller than soldiers but lack the ability to bite back."
The book has taken David around the world. He has given insect cooking demonstrations at The Smithsonian in Washington, the Singapore Food Festival, at a science fair in Trinidad, at Yale University and also the San Diego Zoo.
"This book has legs," laughs David, adding that the book is still in print today after originally being published in 1989. "I’ve written 14 books and this one was the easiest sell. I approached Ten Speed Press with the idea in an email and they said they’d publish it if I could come up with 30 recipes."
David, who admits he is not squeamish in the least, has tried every recipe in the book bar one where giant bird-eating spiders are required – a mess-up (literally) by the US Postal Service meant the mail ordered super-sized tarantulas failed to arrive in cookable condition.
"The book still gets lots of attention today," he said. "Just a few weeks ago, a radio station in Toronto called me up. There is a rise in interest when the bug season starts in North America."
Also recommended by David:
Entertaining with Insects by Ronald Taylor
Other books by David George Gordon: