This happy bug muncher couldn’t care less about stigmas. Time to bite the bug? Certain varieties are kosher and halal.
Are you craving for something different to satisfy the “munchies”? Or are you interested in trying a new kind of food that’s high in protein and low in saturated fats and other bad stuff? Then try eating insects (yuck); especially those like several species of edible and even kosher locusts that have been a source of misery, and food, to humans since the dawn of time. Insects, a thousand species of them no less, are now being considered by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization as a good source of cheap protein for people in poorer parts of the world, especially in Asian and African countries.
“Kosher” yellow locust
In a recent Treehugger article on insects for use as a food source, they talk about how the UN is seriously considering promoting various insect species as a good source of dietary protein at a much lower environmental cost than traditional livestock, such as cows, pigs, or sheep.
In fact, the UN organization responsible for helping to secure food supplies for many inhabitants on this planet is seriously considering these exoskeleton critters to supplement often scarce protein supplies. They want to:
“increase appetites for insects, focusing especially on developing areas where protein supplies are scarce and sustainable harvesting of insects can contribute to both nutritional and economic improvements.”
Insects have both infested mankind and have been used as a food source since our ancient forbearers walked the earth millions of years ago. Locusts are mentioned in the Bible as one of the Ten Plagues that God punished the Egyptians with in order to force Pharaoh to free the Israelites from bondage.
Although insects are mostly forbidden in Jewish dietary Kashrut (kosher) laws, certain species of locusts are considered as kosher by some Jews; especially Yemenite Jews, and include the red locust (Arbeh in Hebrew), and the yellow locust which is known by its Hebrew name of Sal’am. A “kosher” locust is noted by having a marking that resembles the Hebrew letter Het on its underbelly.
Islamic dietary laws seem to follow Jewish laws when it comes to eating insects; and as such only locusts are considered as Halal or permitted as food in Islamic Law.
Recipes for these varmints vary according to region and dietary customs, and include “preparing embers (from a cooking fire) and roasting the entire locust upon them”, or putting several of them on a skewer and barbecuing them like chicken wings.
Since humans have to put up with being infested and bitten by various insect critters, we might as well do a turnabout and bite the bugs as well. Eating them can’t be much different than eating things like crayfish and frogs, both of which are excellent sources of protein. One just has to avoid the usual “mindset” abhorrence of eating a bug.
Read more on insects and our relationship with them: