Newsletter Photo by ©Felix Kunz
Sometimes the tarantula bites you, and sometimes you bite the tarantula. Or would you? The Explorer’s Club, a 100 year old global organization of travelers and adventurers, is no stranger to the experience of biting into a brittle insect leg mossed with coarse, black hair.
Their annual club gala, this year catered by GP on Ellis Island, has partnered with exotic-food specialist Gene Rurka since ’91 to offer a menu of fried tarantulas, scorpions, and cockroaches. With a nice herbed cream cheese on the side.
There are many reasons to look at these creepers as a viable food source. Imagine the explorer lost in the jungles of Cambodia, nary an Uber nor a corner store in sight. Shaking with dehydration and starvation, she hears a rustle in the brush. THWACK! One fell swoop of a sharpened branch and her near fatal protein deficiency is soon to be satiated by an invasive species said to taste like soft shell crab. Win-win.
From a sustainability perspective, bugs on the plate and in the brownie are the wave of the future. Consider this statistic: A moist paper towel per week can produce a quarter pound of edible crickets (commonly known as the ‘gateway bug’ and used as a high-protein, grain-free baking flour), while 869 gallons of water is needed to produce a third of a pound of beef.
Not to mention the cricket’s substantially lower methane gas production, high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, low cholesterol, malleable taste profile, and ethically humane euthanasia - freezing them into a deep sleep before cooking. When looking ahead, keep your eyes on the ground.
GP Executive Chefs Rob Valencia and Mike Deuel with Chef Gene Rurka
Chef Rurka's Edible Scorpions
Our first course of Hen of the Woods Mushrooms & Kale salad
Rurka also provided Reindeer and Rabbit Sausage, Yak Meatballs, and Elk Pemmican (with blueberries!). The cold weather themed menu was very careful not to include anything endangered and represented the eating habits of the world’s colder dwelling humans.
Patti Golden of Evelyn Hill called me about trying to get them to come to Ellis Island, and after a month or so of taking them on the journey to the island via ferry we are pleased that it worked out for all. We look forward to the next dining adventure!
For more, see the link to the evening here: ECAD 2017