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Please Pass the Crickets

PULLMAN, Wash. The 50 students in Richard Zack’s Insects and People Class at Washington State University will get a chance to eat what he preaches during  class on Dec. 4:  insects as food.

This year’s menu includes cricket chili, fried crickets in garlic sauce and a variety of cookies and breads in which mealworms are invisible ingredients.  Honey and honey- flavored soft drinks will be offered as well.

The idea behind the bug feast is to drive home a point made in lectures that insects are a regular part of the human diet in developing countries around the world. “But in the last 10 years, eating insects has gotten to be very chic in some places,” Zack added.

Some restaurants opening up in Japan now offer mountain cuisine. “Mountain cuisine refers to what ancestral Japanese used to eat when they lived in the mountains. They ate a lot of insects.

“Insects are really very nutritious. They contain very little in the way of cholesterol and, depending on the insect, they contain a lot of protein.” The foods that Zack and his colleagues make won’t duplicate recipes used in other cultures because of limited availability of six-legged ingredients. “We can order crickets and mealworms.  We can’t really get certain types of locusts and caterpillars that might be used in the diet in Africa.”

Do his students have to sample his cooking to pass the course?

“They do not have to eat anything, but I expect all the students to show up,” Zack said.  “We also allow them to bring boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands,  friends, and relatives,” he said.  “This is open to anybody who wants to come.”

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NOTE TO EDITORS: You are invited too. Tasting will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4, in the atrium of the Teleconference Center in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Building. Be sure to bring your appetite.  Contact Dennis Brown at (509) 335-2938 or for futher information.)