A few days ago John Early, the Curator of Entomology at Auckland War Memorial Museum, generously gave me some of his valuable time to discuss insects & their edibility, & 'extreme food".
Our conversation ranged over kelp flies, centepides, bee larvae, crickets, algae, unusual meals in our travels, huhu grubs, mealworms, snails....& much more...
Some incredible edibles!
Huhu grubs & beetle
When I asked John about the dangers of eating venomous creatures such as scorpions or spiders, he said that as their poisons are protein-based, they are rendered harmless by heat, tho he cautioned that tarantula fangs are best removed before consumption of the spider.
We had a fascinating chat about "what Auckland eats" - now that we have a very ethnically-diverse population here, there is far more on offer than there was even 15 years ago. There are English, South African, Chinese, & Indian speciality food stores here now, & we wondered if there are any Sudanese, Mongolian ones.
John showed me some freeze-dried specimens the Entomology Dept had in storage, including a bag of NZ seahorses [!]. He told me that female insects, especially when filled with eggs, are more nutritious & tasty than the males of the species "..testes are never as nutritious as ovaries" - brilliant!
John has written a book "Know Your New Zealand Insects & Spiders" which features excellent photos by Don Horne, which I have borrowed from the library, am about to order online.
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