One of the great joys of traveling is the chance to eat something new. Whether it’s a mouthwatering steak in Argentina or an English breakfast in London, exposure to new cuisine helps us understand the places we visit and people we meet. But of all the foods we’ll try when traveling, many people get all squeamish when it comes to insects. Not so fast says Japanese chef Shoichi Uchiyama, whose new bug recipe cookbook aims to give eaters everywhere a fresh look at eating and consuming these “untouchables” of the food world.
Uchiyama, who first became interested in insect cuisine during a workshop in 1998 in Tokyo, has become a devoted advocate of increased consumption of insects by humans. The chef points to the many benefits of insects as food, including their high protein content and the ability for farmers to raise them quickly and cheaply. He also notes that more than 1400 varieties of insects are consumed worldwide, from Africa to Latin America and Asia. Uchiyama’s new 256 page cookbook aims to further dispel humans’ natural aversion to eating bugs by providing a run-down of how to cook everything from cockroaches in pink vinegar soup, to moth pupae covered in sugar to pizza covered in water bugs.
What do you think? Does a sugar-covered moth-pupae get your mouth watering? Even if you think Chef Uchiyama has gone off the deep end, his enthusiasm and creativity are certainly cause for a second look at that plate of crickets. Have you ever eaten insects during your travels? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
The otherworldly red rock of Uluru (Ayers Rock) that rises above a flat expanse of Australia‘s Northern Territory has long been considered a sacred site to the native Aboriginal people. Against their wishes, over 100,000 people climb the rock, which is just over 1100 feet tall, each year. Recently, the National Parks service proposed a plan that would close Uluru to climbers.
There were many reasons given for the proposed climbing ban, including the site’s significance to the Aboriginal people, increased erosion on the rock, and the danger involved in climbing the rock(it is estimated that around 35 people die while attempting to scale it each year). A guide for the Anangu Waai tour company has now cited another reason – people are using the sacred spot as a toilet. After they get to the top, they take a “bathroom break” out of sight before starting their descent. It’s an idea so revolting that you hope it can’t possibly be true, but the director of the National Parks has backed it up. He says that in busy times, the levels of E. coli at the base of Uluru reach dangerous levels as the filth washes down the rock with the rain.
The Northern Territory government opposes the proposal. If Uluru were to be closed to hikers, fewer people might visit, and the area’s tourism industry could suffer. As per usual, environmental and social ideals become tangled with economic concerns and the country’s Environmental Minister will have to consider both when he makes his decision on a 10-year plan for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which he says will be made “in due course”. Looks like it you want to climb Uluru, you should get there now….but please hit the bathroom before you go.
[via Times Online]