Most of us don’t want creepy crawlers in the same room as us, let alone on our plates. That is, unless your name is Angelina Jolie. The actress, who has never been a stranger to the risque, has recently taken to eating bugs following a trip to Cambodia, even promoting the peculiar practice with her children.
But what’s even stranger than an A-list celeb chowing down on scorpions and spiders? The fact that Jolie might actually be onto something! (Foods made from insects actually made our list of 2017 LIVESTRONG Food & Wellness Predictions. It's #32 on the list!)
During an interview with BBC’s Yalda Hakim, Jolie and her children cooked up some spiders. “See the hard part where you have the teeth? Take the fangs out,” she told twins Knox and Vivienne, throwing them into a skillet.
The 41-year-old actress revealed she first ate Cambodian bugs during her first visit to the country. “You start with crickets. Crickets and a beer, and then you kind of move up to tarantulas.”
She and her worldly clan are now noshing on bigger critters like spiders and scorpions, which she notes are hard to chew. During the interview, even the youngest of her children seem to enjoy dining on a buffet of bugs. Eight-year-old Knox described the taste as: “Dry chips. Flavorless chips.” Yummy.
While bug eating isn’t a common thing in the United States (yet), it is estimated that 2 million people around the world consume them as part of their diet. And while the thought of shoving a termite into your mouth may induce nausea (as it’s assumed most bugs are dirty little disease carriers), they are actually packed with protein and other nutrients and available in surplus around the world.
And after you learn how many nutrients are in your average bug you may consider swapping lunch meat for an eight-legged treat. “They are the original superfood. They are high in protein, minerals and amino acids, so it makes sense to eat them,” Shami Radia, co-founder of Grub, an edible-bug purveyor in the U.K., tells the BBC.
For example, a 3.5-ounce serving of raw grasshoppers or crickets offers between 14 and 28 grams of protein, while the same amount of red ants boasts 14 grams with 5.7 milligrams of iron and an ample dose of calcium. Worms, which are commonly feasted upon in some parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, are also packed with protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and even copper.
Eating insects is also incredibly environmentally friendly! Crickets produce 100 times less greenhouse gas than cows, which means far less warming of our planet is created when people decide to eat insects rather than animals.
Radia is confident that eating bugs will be as common as sushi in the near future, but that many “baby steps” need to be taken before scorpions are a menu staple. He suggests starting off with cricket powder — commonly sold at health-food stores and a great addition to smoothies and protein bars — “because you can’t actually see the insect and, hopefully, it will make people more comfortable with eating insects as a whole.”
If you are still cringing with disgust, he offers a valid point: “Prawns are ugly, and they taste delicious, and there’s no reason why eating insects can’t be normalized.”
Before you decide to delve into Angelina’s culinary world and start eating bugs, there a few things to think about. According to chef David George Gordon in a 2015 interview with BuzzFeed, if you have food allergies, it’s likely you will have bug allergies too. Also, make sure to harvest your bugs from pesticide-free areas, or else you will be eating the pesticides as well.
Bon appetite, everybody!
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever eaten bugs? What did they taste like? Do you think Angelina Jolie will spawn a culinary trend?