Man Eating Bugs

As I prepare for my lessons, there is always far more material than I can use, and it makes me sad just to put the information away in a file somewhere. For example, this week, I am preaching on one of my favorite characters, John the Baptist. Mark tells us:

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6).

The prophet Elijah wore a camel’s hair coat with a leather belt (2 Kings 1:8). By his distinctive garb, John told everyone he was a prophet following in Elijah’s footsteps. His diet is another matter.

As I began digging into Entomophagy (the practice of eating insects for food), I discovered a whole new subculture complete with gourmet recipes (See the Eat a Bug Cookbook or Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects.) You can even order “Salted Locusts” (15-gram packages for $12.95 on Amazon). Wikipedia reports, “At the home stadium of the Seattle Mariners baseball team, grasshoppers are a popular novelty snack, selling in high volumes since they were introduced to concession stands in 2017.”

Eating bugs sounds repulsive to most Americans, but they are commonly consumed around the world. In fact, four different kinds of locusts are kosher (see Leviticus 11:22). One chef in Jerusalem is taking advantage of the recent plague to add locusts to his menu. Chef Moshe Basson says, “Locust has a taste reminiscent of quail, somehow. And sunflower seeds. Those familiar with the taste of shrimp will recognize that flavor, also.” He adds, “They’re more appetizing if you pull off the head, the short legs, and wings. The long legs are relatively plump, like chicken legs.” [1] He suggests, “Drop them into a boiling broth, clean them off, and roll in a mixture of flour, coriander seeds, garlic, and chili powder. Then deep-fry them. Pan-frying is another good option, and they are “crunchy, tasty and sweet,” says Basson, when mixed with caramel and sprinkled into a meringue.[2]

I doubt that is how John the Baptist prepared them, but it makes you think.



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