Critters like insects are both nutritious and delicious. They generally taste best cooked--roast or fry grubs, for instance. But unless you find them near fecal or polluted material, it is generally fine to eat most grubs and many other insects raw. Whenever I get hungry on a trail I kick open a rotting log and pop a few in my mouth for energy. Slimy yet satisfying.
In New Guinea (and elsewhere I suppose) they dig up large grubs, about 3 inches long, 1 inch diameter. and roast them. They are supposed to taste nutty.
Graeme Newman wrote The Down Under Cookbook more than 10 years ago. I met him in Albany, New York, in 1988 and traded him a boomerang for one of his cookbooks. One of the recipes is as follows. There may be some errors because I OCR'd with my scanner.
- Witchety Grubs
- Witchety grubs (from the Aboriginal witjute, the name of roots in which the grubs are often found) are various larvae that feed in the wood of eucalyptus trees, most often between the bark and the trunk. They are about 1 to 2.5 inches long, with a fat creamy body about the width of a man's thumb, and stumpy legs. The Australian Aborigines who live in the Outback are said to consider them a delicacy. As with most food taken by the Aborigines in the Outback, they eat their witchety grubs raw. I have never tried them prepared in that way. I recommend them cooked as follows, Outback style.
an old piece of metal
salt and pepper to taste
a little cooking oil (optional)
So you're stuck in the Outback without anything except a little salt and pepper! The Outback is desolate often without vegetation, but one is sure to find somewhere a scrap piece of metal left from some failed effort to drive an enormous distance, or maybe from a Mad Maz movie set. Scrub the metal clean, hopefully in a little sand and water from a nearby trickling creek. Prepare a fast, trench fire and place the metal across the top. Immediately place yams in coals beside the fire. After about 2 an hour, when the hot plate is quite hot, drop the witchety grubs down and rapidly roll across the metal plate. Keep rolling until they are browned all over. Remove from heat, allow to cool. Remove ya.ms from coals. Break open yams and serve each yam with a witchety grub nestled in the middle.
On a dare, I once ate a witchety grub cooked according to this recipe. It tasted quite delicious, somewhere between roast pork and chicken, and it stayed down too. But I have to admit that I haven't eaten one since. Grub is a word used by Australians to refer to any larvae found in the garden and elsewhere. When I have asked my American friends what a grub is, they invariably reply that it is a "freeloader" and rarely relate the word to insects (real insects that is). Australians have their own word for a freeloader: a bludger.