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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Weird Wednesday

Today's Weird Wednesday is all about weird food. Please stop reading now if you have a weak stomach, or are prone to nightmares.

The first weird food tale comes from Australia. The country's residents are being urged to tackle a plague of moths - by eating the little blighters. Jean-Paul Bruneteau, a 51 year old French-born chef, is at the forefront of the "munch a moth" campaign. He started eating brown bogong moths about 11 years ago, whilst researching a book on Aboriginal bush tucker. The Daily Telegraph quotes him as saying "they have a lovely popcorn flavour, like hazelnut". Bruneteau runs "bush tucker" restaurants in Sydney and Paris. He recommends removing the moths' furry wings, before roasting them in the oven for three minutes, with a dash of oil. He also suggests grinding them in a coffee mill, before sprinkling them over omelettes, crepes or pancakes.

Martyn Robinson, a naturalist at the Australian Museum in Sydney, also recommends moth munching. He prefers live moths, which he catches on his windowsill. He grabs them by their wings, before swallowing them. Both my cats agree that this is indeed the best way to taste moth. However, cats and humans alike need to take note: Mr Robinson has lost much of his early enthusiasm for moth-munching. Not only did he discover they contain high levels of arsenic, as a result of farmers spraying pesticides, but he also learnt that three ounces of bogong moth bodies contain three times as much fat as a single Big Mac.

The farmers and villagers of Borno State, in the far north-east of Nigeria, have a far more eco-friendly way of dealing with bugs that attack their crops, than flinging around pesticides. Tired of legions of migrating desert locusts decimating their crops and other vegetation, the people of Borno have turned the annual locust attack into a special banquet. According to Gambo Ibrahim, a local locust hunter, his people eat the locusts, which they refer to as desert shrimps. Photographic evidence of this peculiar practice may be seen here.

If you think those last two tales are gut-churning, spare a thought for the people of south China. Here, courtesy of the World Museum in Liverpool, is a traditional south Chinese recipe. You really need to start praying that your local takeaway doesn't add this monstrosity to its menu. Ready? Here it is.

Scorpion Soup


½ cup vegetable oil
30-40 live scorpions, washed
125g fresh pork
1 large garlic bulb, crushed
fresh ginger root, about 3cm, chopped
salt and pepper
½ litre water
1 handful dried Chinese dates
1 handful dried red berries
1 large carrot, sliced


Heat the oil in a large wok. Stir-fry the scorpions for 20 seconds. Add the pork, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir-fry briefly, then add the water slowly. Add the other ingredients and simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes.

Note: do NOT try this at home!!!

Apparently, the soup is eaten either as a starter or main course. It is said to taste mainly of pork and dates, and is best served with Chinese beer. There are many scorpion ‘ranches’ in south China, usually in people’s homes. Large numbers of scorpions are raised and sold in the markets. Said to have a woody taste, scorpions should be eaten whole, except for the tip of the tail, where they keep their nasty stingers.

I can't believe foreigners have the nerve to criticise British food! Give me toad in the hole and spotted dick any day.

That's all for this week's Weird Wednesday. Would someone please pass the sick bag?


jams o donnell said...

Hmm I think I'll pass. Our for feline friends partake frequently on moth but I suspect the reason why they lick their bums is to get the taste out of their mouths!

.:mar said...

I just had breakfast. So I followed your advice and didn't read further...