| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES May 24 Hungry? How about
tempura-battered fried Tarantula for an appetizer? They're
frozen then defrosted before bug chef David George Gordon cuts
off the abdomen, singes off hairs with a lighter and dunks the
remaining spider body into batter.
"You just have to brown it up for a couple of minutes. Then
I add my secret ingredient, a pinch of smoked paprika for
flavor. The best part are the legs," said Gordon, speaking at an
insect cooking demonstration in Hollywood aimed at showcasing
insects as a sustainable food.
Other treats being served up at the third annual Bug-A-Thon
at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Hollywood on Friday include
Scorpion Scaloppine and dishes consisting of the chef's choice
bugs: grasshoppers, cockroaches and other savory surprises.
Considered the planet's most sustainable source of
eco-friendly and inexpensive animal protein, the practice of
eating insects is practiced globally by two-thirds of the
world's population, said Andrea Silverman, the manager of
Ripley's Hollywood, who said the demonstration aimed to spread
the word about the nutritional value of bugs.
"The tarantula was great. It tasted like shrimp tempura. I
also tried the grasshoppers. I ate the whole thing starting with
the head! It tasted like pepper!" she said.
She added that nutrient-rich crickets provide three times
the calcium and iron as beef, require hundreds of times less
water to generate the same amount of protein as a cow, and
reportedly taste like "nutty shrimp."
"In America we're the weird ones because we don't eat bugs.
We're a nation of bug-bashers," said Gordon, who has authored a
bug cookbook and lives in Seattle with his wife and pet
Other bugs deemed good enough to eat at the fest, which
continues on Saturday, include ants, worms and termites as well
as caterpillars, dung beetles and wasps.
"I bought these from Oaxaca, Mexico," Gordon explained of
his favored Chapulines, or grasshoppers, that 10-year-old
visitor Dylan Vaughan was brave enough to try and deemed them
"good and spicy."
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)