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The United Nations recently released a report on worldwide insect consumption, and how everyone is doing it and you should eat bugs too! (Clearly the U.N. doesn’t have a mother.) Apparently, they’re packed with protein, require a lot less land to produce and are all-around awesome eats -- minus the ick factor, of course. Here's the buzz on five munchies that could cause butterflies in your stomach -- literally:
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Want to solve the Great Cicada Swarmageddon of 2013? Eat 'em! Those giant, meaty buggers are popular in African and Asian countries, and were considered a delicacy back in ancient Greek times. According to the U.N. report, Aristotle preferred noshing on females right after they'd copulated because they were filled with eggs, making them tastier. Like chicken, we're guessing...
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In Cambodia, street vendors deep-fry a species of tarantula (legs and all) found in the area's forests. Crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle is how The Telegraph describes the critters, with one creepy-crawly side effect -- "spider furballs in your throat." And we thought the dirty-water hot dogs from New York City's food carts had strange aftertastes.
They're the most common edible insects -- so common you might be eating one right now. No, not as that mystery mix-in in your salad, but as red food dye (made from the bugs' crushed carasses) found in some yogurts, candies and juices. They even colored Starbucks' strawberry frappuccinos until last year when vegans freaked and the company starting using lycopene from tomatoes instead. In other countries, folks aren’t scared of a little snap, crackle and pop, and eat them like popcorn.
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Apparently, Mexican farmers deep-fry or braise these wiggling insects and serve them with a spicy sauce in a tortilla, according to the U.N. report. To round out the meal, pair the plumpy pests with some mezcal liquor or tequila. The red maguey worm (or the larvae of a moth aka a caterpillar) lives at the bottom of the bottle. Because if you're going to start eating bugs, you probably want to be drunk first.
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In the Lao People's Democratic Republic, folks sprinkle adult ants in their fish soups to add a lemon-like sourness. While in Thailand, ant eggs (aka the larvae and pupae) are served over sticky rice with shallots and chilies. If you're just itching to try this dish, the eggs are sold in cans and are available for purchase online. But at $8.99 a pop, they're a lot pricier than a tin of tuna.