When it comes to protein foods, we think chicken, beef, and pork. Farming technologies have shifted our protein sources toward food stuffs we consider appropriate. But what about people living in countries without this luxury? Yes, they can eat tofu or certain plants, but you won’t believe that people actually eat these weird protein sources:
These creatures have long been a food source in many countries. Growing to significant sizes, a single snake could easily provide meat meal for a whole family. And it’s tasty because, depending a little on the species, it can taste like a cross between chicken and frog legs (another really tasty morsel).
(Photo by Aaron Fulkerson via flickr.com)
In Chinese medicine, snake meat is considered warming, and its blood is mixed with alcohol to create a ‘sexually invigorating’ beverage (interesting, but we don’t eat blood). Snake is low in fat–about half that of lean beef mince–and low in cholesterol, so it’s considered a worthy meat, even in the West. As snakes have their fair share of parasites and carry Salmonella in their intestines, their meat should be prepared and cooked properly in order to be completely safe–just like any other meat preparation really!
(Photo by shanker s. via flickr.com)
Last year, Israel was in the grip of a locust swarm. Good news for some as they are tasty to eat and nutritious! A crunchy delicacy, often breaded and fried, or covered in chocolate for that extra special nibble! As they are considered Kosher, eating them is like killing two birds with one stone–they ravage crops and taste good. Taking many out of circulation to end up on a plate reduces their number (infinitesimally, it has been said) and offers a healthy snack.
(Photo by Richard Shaw via flickr.com)
3. Witchetty Grubs
A delicacy found in the heart of Australia, Witchetty grubs eat the roots of the Wichetty Tree, while also favoring the roots of the Red Gum Tree and the Black Wattle. Prepared mostly by women, the raw Witchetty grub tastes similar to almonds, and once cooked, become crisp like roast chicken–the insides oozing light yellow liquid, a little like a fried egg.
(Photo by Tobias Titz via corbisimages.com)
In many parts of the world, ants are part of the usual diet. In Australia, honeypot ants abound, some of their workers filling their abdomens with nectar to feed their own population. Popping the abdomen once in your mouth offers a sweet, if small, libation. In Colombia, ants are roasted and mixed with salt and eaten as a specialty at feasts.
(Photo by Derrick Coetzee via flickr.com)
While not an appealing creature by looks, slugs are plentiful, especially in the wetter summer months. Prepared in a similar fashion to escargot (snails), they are good at carrying the flavor of the sauce in which they are prepared–garlic, butter, and a little parsley is always a favorite combination.
Since they can carry the lungworm parasite, cooking them properly is essential. Though the parasite will not live in humans, their toxicity can lead to severe sickness. Again, the rule for survival is to cook it properly.
(Photo by Darren Johnson via flickr.com)
These are a varied creature with over 6,000 varieties worldwide, the largest being the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, or megascolides australis, which can grow up to 9 feet long! They can be eaten, although first, they need to be left for 24 hours out of soil to excrete all the dirt inside them. Otherwise, they would be an earthy, crunchy feast–not as pleasant. Heating them on a hot rock next to a fire is ideal, creating worm jerky. They taste a little like beef–and why not? I’ll have mine stir-fried please.
(Photo by schizoform via flickr.com)
Disgusting as they are, maggots are very capable of producing fat which they use in their transformation into pupae and ultimately into the fly. In populations where their meat diets are of a lean nature–say rabbits or other woodland creatures–eating raw maggots is widely practiced, helping to round out the diet.
Their flavor is much influenced by the carcass upon which they were found, and can be very rich if that meat was game or had the intestines still intact. Lightly fried or raw, they can be eaten in abundance. A word of caution: maggots eat anything organic and so, will consume bacteria from the creature on which they live. Unless you know the source and can verify that they’re clean (which to my mind is impossible), my recommendation is to cook them first.
So, hungry yet?