March 20, 2013

Eating locusts in Israel...

... where there's a bad infestation going on.
Locust is the only insect which is considered kosher. Specific extracts in the Torah state that four types of desert locust - the red, the yellow, the spotted grey, and the white - can be eaten....

Locusts that have feasted on sesame plants acquire an oily, shiny tinge, and are said to be particularly delicious.

49 comments:

edutcher said...

Oy!

I know the Plains Indians ate them roasted, but kosher?

Hebrew National will never be the same.

PS Can't wait to see Choom and Lurch ask for some Gray Poupon on theirs.

Hunter said...

It was good enough for John the Baptist, although he preferred his with sweetener.

bagoh20 said...

I get the impression that some Torah writers were just screwing with people.

YoungHegelian said...

I always wondered as a kid how a good Jew like John the Baptist would break the dietary rules by eating naught but "locusts & wild honey" during his time in the desert. But that was before I read the list of permitted bugs in Leviticus.

By the way, while the Hebrew word for "locust" is clear, the words for those other bugs are used nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible, so we're not really sure what they were. The Greek in the Septuagint isn't any clearer, (e.g. καὶ τὸν ἀττάκην --- what the hell is an attakes?), so the original meaning of the Hebrew word was lost by the first century BC.

Lem said...

David Brooks says that eating locust in Israel used to be a metaphor for when employers refused to let people work from home.

bpm4532 said...

Obama's not wearing that hoodie, is he?

Unknown said...

I have no Greek, so this is secondhand, but I have heard many times that "locust" John ate was pods of the locust tree, what we call today carob. One cannot rely on the bug locust, which is transient, but the tree-locust sticks around.

YoungHegelian said...

So, last night it was jokes about Ethiopians eating bugs. Now it's Israelis eating bugs.

Are we working up a theme here?

Lem said...

The Chinese bowl is just too expensive.

Lem said...

Althouse Passover.

Birds evolve shorter wings to survive on roads

Kirk Parker said...

YoungHegelian,

Well, if we don't know what τὸν ἀττάκην means, either, then maybe the meaning was lost since then, not before.

There are even a few hapax legomena in the NT, you know.

Kirk Parker said...

Or wait--is that just a transliteration?

AlanKH said...

Alert PETA.

gadfly said...

No - wrong on two counts. First, nothing is kosher until you pay the Rabbi in charge of koshering. Second, locusts cannot be eaten by me.

Bryann mcgrew said...

I'm really excited for this one too! I er, haven't read the first one though.
dubai offshore company

Mary Beth said...

Daenerys, don't eat the honeyed locusts!

St. George said...

They were eaten by American pioneers:

"Locusts and grasshoppers are prepared for cooking by removing the wings, the small legs, and the distal portion of the hind legs. Then pull off the head, withdrawing any attached viscera.
Boil prepared Rocky Mountain locusts in salted water. Add assorted cut-up vegetables, butter, salt, and vinegar to the broth and cook until the vegetables are tender. Serve as a thick soup or over boiled rice as a main dish."

We are going to gradually see insects enter the American diet again. They are very inexpensive to raise, very proteinaceous, and, did I say it, cheap? They'll be heavily processed and added to existing foods, first in small amounts. They'll be called something else—some clever neologism. Professional athletes will be paid millions to profess that they eat this special powerpaste. Slate will publish articles about manly homosexuals, the gaybros, eating it. You will blog about it.

Emil Blatz said...

Sy, get me a blintz with locusts on the side, wouldya?

pm317 said...

College drop out journolister Chuck Todd redeemed himself with this question to Obama at the Israeli press conference. Did Obama give him the finger at 1:53? Classy!

Rusty said...

It's why we invented modern western civilization. So we wouldn't have to eat bugs.

"What would you like with your latte?"
"What do you have?"
"We have some nice strawberry scones we also have some bugs today."
"Hmmm. Tough choice. I'll have the scone."

"Hello. Welcome to Mcdonalds. Would you like to try our new McBugwitch?"

wyo sis said...

Good old Obama and that classy frat boy sly middle finger salute. He ought to retire that particular gesture. It makes him look petty and juvenile.

Rusty said...

Because he is petty and juvenile, sis.

Nonapod said...

Large grasshoppers have something like 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.

Rusty said...

Nonapod said...
Large grasshoppers have something like 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.


Good. You eat em.

David Hampton said...

Would locust pass muster with Bloomberg? I will be adding bug parts to the list of food additives euphemistically referred to as "meat by-products" along with horse meat.

Nichevo said...

Non, well then I'm off the hook. Doing Atkins, that's too much carbs for me.

I heard some jerk on Slate or Salon mouthing off on how he loves horsemeat. Jerk.

Nonapod said...

Not that I'd eat em either (unless I was starving in a survival situation), I don't even like shellfish.

rhhardin said...

Locust delecti.

LarsPorsena said...

I've eaten grasshoppers (locusts) before. Not bad but don't try to kiss anybody after indulging. Mega-bad breath.

SteveR said...

When people actually had to eat a "paleo" diet the average lifespan was about 20 years. How do we know it was better?

Freeman Hunt said...

I think they sound like they'd be pretty good pan-fried.

Nonapod said...

Fun tip - if you're ever in a survival situation where you are forced to eat bugs for sustenance, it's good idea to cook or boil them if at all possible. Insects in the wild can often be infected with parasites like roundworms and horsehair worms.

Nomennovum said...

I've never had an insect (other than the fragments of bugs we all eat when eating normal processed foods). But insects are arthropods like crustaceans and really not so different from shrimp, lobster and crab. I gusess what I would mostly object to is eating the exoskeleton (the shell) of a locust ... but, hey, what about soft-shell crab?

Scott M said...

3/21/13...1 of 12 blog posts.

:)

Nomennovum said...

Nonapod the arthropod, don't forget to bring the matches when you're going into a survival situation!

Nomennovum said...

When people actually had to eat a "paleo" diet the average lifespan was about 20 years. How do we know it was better?

No Nanny Bloombergs about. You find it, grow it, or catch it, you fucking eat it.

Freeman Hunt said...

The key would be how the exoskeleton breaks when you chew it. If it crumbles, it could be crunchy and delicious. If it comes apart into chewy, flexible shards, that would be disgusting.

Nomennovum said...

David Hampton asked, "Would locust pass muster with Bloomberg?"

My guess would be, No. If he doesn't eat it, drink it, or like it, it must be limited or prohibited by law.

Nomennovum said...

Hey, I just saw a cockroach scamper away on the counter in our office's kitchen. Strangely, it made me think of lunch, which is still a couple of hours away.

MadisonMan said...

So if locust swarms ever return to the US (a return caused, no doubt, by Global Warming :) ), we all know what to do.

Nomennovum said...

I'll have to amend my earlier post about not eating bugs. I have eaten a few, when riding a bike (and, no Nonapod, I didn't boil them first -- no matches for a fire)

Hagar said...


President Barack Obama referred to his own daughters and America's previous racial divide as he made an impassioned plea this morning for Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

'Whenever I meet these young people, whether they're Israeli or Palestinian, I think of my young daughters,' he said during a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
'Those of us in the United States understand that change takes time, but change is possible. There was a time when my daughters did not have the same opportunities as somebody else's daughters.'



"When your only tool is hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Sorun said...

"He argues that we are heading towards a meat crisis..."

Says the boy who cried wolf.

Cedarford said...

Nichevo said...
Non, well then I'm off the hook. Doing Atkins, that's too much carbs for me.

I heard some jerk on Slate or Salon mouthing off on how he loves horsemeat. Jerk.

=========================
The aversion only started when Americans had the surplus production and removal from rural life that allowed them the luxury of being animal lovers and castigating others for eating foods they had cultural aversion to.
In old waste not, want not, America, the major source of protein was not wasted and buried - horsemeat recipes abounded in older cookbooks - offal from horses was recycled to livestock or salted in barrels for dog chow. Horse hides, hair used.
Hose bones were boiled to make gelatin for genteel ladies to eat fruit and pies with, and glue.

Horsemeat is pretty good. I've had it in Turkey, KSA, and Mexico.

Burying an animal with some 350-500 lbs of edible food on it is a colossal waste --only happening in America. Diversion into only pet food is also a shame. This is something that was never a taboo in human culture - just a recent 20th Century cultural affectation in America.

Cedarford said...

Freeman Hunt said...
The key would be how the exoskeleton breaks when you chew it. If it crumbles, it could be crunchy and delicious. If it comes apart into chewy, flexible shards, that would be disgusting


If you can "stand" to eat lobster, shrimp, or crab - and ever had to spit out occasional pieces of rigid shell keratin or flexible (backfin area) keratin from them - you can probably "stand" to eat insects as well on that measure.

I think it is all a combined function of several things that lead to food choices (in the Western Society surplus food sense of actually having a choice).
And we as a species don't reject whole classes of food just because some within the class are bad-tasting, harmful, or disgusting.

Mangos belong to the same plant group as poison ivy. We eat mangos, we don't eat poison ivy.

We eat chickens, but aver on crow and vultures.
We eat lobster, but not fellow arthropod spiders.
We eat grasshoppers but not cockroaches.
We eat sheep, but not what is by all counts "foul tasting, stringy" old housecats.
And so on.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
So if locust swarms ever return to the US (a return caused, no doubt, by Global Warming :) ), we all know what to do.

Feed em to the pigs, then eat the pigs.

Nomennovum said...

... a return caused, no doubt, by Global Warming ... - Rusty

No doubt. Have they started blaming the brutaly cold and snowy March weather on AGW yet?

Let me guess what they'll say ....

Harumph! The cold March weather in the eastern US is due to the dearth of Artic Ocean ice, causing an unusal change in the jet stream over North America. We can expect more of this cold weather as the global temperatures rise yada yada yada.

SteveR said...

Read the Diary of Lewis and Clark.

woof woof

Gary Rosen said...

Locusts in Israel, C-fudd is getting a rare woody.