A sentence that one should never hear from his high school biology teacher: “That wasn’t beef I just fed you.”
Want to eat a cicada? These N.J. high school students are going to do just that.
By Brianna Kudisch, 18 May 2021
The Brood X cicadas have slowly started to emerge in Princeton, but copperhead snakes aren’t the only predators looking forward to eating them for a quick bite.
A group of students at Princeton High School are also eagerly awaiting the swarms for a protein-packed meal, as members of the school’s insect eating club.
“I think that cicadas are a great example of one way we can use insects all around us as ways to build support for new proteins and new food sources,” said Matthew Livingston, a junior who is a member of the club.
What’s wrong with the old sources? They’re affordable, healthy, traditional and don’t trigger one’s disgust reflex… oh.
Organized in 2020, the insect eating club technically has 50 members, although only four to five active members usually attend the weekly meetings. Club members host tasting events, as well as insect-raising projects.
All of the virtue-signaling with none of the calories!
Students are currently raising crickets and mealworms, and might start raising silkworms and tomato hornworms for research purposes, said Mark Eastburn, a biology teacher at the high school and mentor of the club.
No, not “research purposes”. Eastburn want to get kids accustomed to eating cockroach larvae (aka mealworms) because he intends to deprive them of beef and chicken when they grow up. It’s best if the kiddies get used to a starvation diet early on. Ditto hormone blockers?
They are also planning a large outdoor food waste remediation project with black soldier flies over the summer.
Because clouds of flies don’t know how to consume garbage without a credentialed government advisor.
Livingston said the group intends to organize a “cicada hunting event” either May 29 or 30 for the tasting event, since that’s when the big wave of insects in their full forms is expected.
After catching the insects in a local park, members will freeze them for freshness and safety precautions, since freezing them kills off some bacteria, he said.
Freezing will not kill off any pesticides. I also note the usage of “some” bacteria.
In early June, Livingston said he’ll teach members how to cook the insects via Zoom. They will meet at his house in mid-June for the tasting event and to see “which recipes are the most favorable.”
Most club members haven’t tried cicadas before, Livingston said. But they have sampled other insects, like crickets or mealworms. “We’ve also eaten them whole, raw, and intact, roasted” he said, or in “powder form, in a cookie or brownie.”
Eastburn, who recently ate a cicada, compared its flavor to a bean. He said he’s looking forward to tasting the insects with Old Bay seasoning, since they’re “closely related to crustaceans.”
That from a biology teacher?
Mulin Huan, a junior and club member, said he’s heard stories of his mother catching cicadas for consumption in China with her brothers and friends. They mixed cornstarch with water to create a “sticky pasta,” that they attached to a bamboo stick and a tree to catch the insects.
Once they caught the cicadas, his mother and her friends pulled their wings off, boiled them to remove any potential parasites, and stir fried them in oil with different flavors, including soy sauce, ginger, and salt and pepper.
That should have been a clue. China’s history is proof that strong, centralized government results in starvation diets for proletariats. Oh look, America now has a strong and centralized government that predicts we’ll have to eat maggots to survive… just as soon as their Brave New Agenda For Inevitable Progress Benefitting the Human Condition gets fully implemented.
Livingston said he’s also seen the insects consumed as “candy cicadas,” with a hard sugar coating added on their exterior. But he’s largely interested in the cicadas as an alternative protein since they produce less greenhouse gases and are already raised by nature.
“They’re basically a free food source,” he said.
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Do you remember Green Fruit Loop? She is the green anole, a lizard native to the Southeastern U.S., that Villanova Master’s student and elementary school teacher Mark Eastburn ’17 MS helped rescue from an organic salad container shipped from Florida to Princeton, N.J., where he teaches. The story made national news last winter when Eastburn made a home for the lizard in his classroom. We are happy to report that while their journeys have not been easy, Eastburn and Green Fruit Loop are both thriving!
Okay. Fun story… because he didn’t eat it.
Q: When that story first broke, you had some great quotes about our revulsion to certain creatures being learned, and that finding a lizard in your salad greens means that the leaves must be healthy and high quality—quite the opposite of what most of us would think. How can we start refocusing our lens to see things from a science perspective, or a more natural perspective? Or, how do we stop kids from losing that perspective?
The perspective that poop is exciting? We’ve all been there at age two. Perhaps revulsion can be a sign of maturity?
A: I think that it is essential to model the right practices and behaviors when children are young, which is why I enjoy being an elementary school science teacher. My youngest students are in prekindergarten, and they practically fall over each other for a chance to hold Rosie, my pet tarantula. If I show them a snake, they are fascinated, not frightened, and yet it is an endless struggle to encourage adults to refrain from passing along their own aversions to spiders and snakes to students.
Um, no, not so much. Snakes aren’t revolting. Granted that not everybody appreciates a pet that will hug you, then swallow you whole, but that’s not the same. People do have an instinctive revulsion to arachnids and that is generally a good thing. Example, it was the only way that we could settle Australia.
I believe that my mission as a science teacher is to reconnect students to nature, since younger generations often do not have the same opportunities that I had to experience the outdoors. At the same time, I feel compelled to incorporate new technologies into my instruction, and not lose sight of skills that will be necessary for future careers, so I’ve always sought ways to integrate natural sciences with technology. To this end, I have been trying to build “nature spaces” at the schools in my district, where students can interact with native species like insects, isopods, frogs, salamanders and turtles, while at the same time using digital tools for observation, data collection, and simulation of relationships within ecosystems. Many recent studies have shown the positive effects of spending time in natural settings, and I really believe that this is necessary to our mental health.
He’s right as far as this interview goes, but he fails as a teacher when he imparts that idea that ALL nature is good nature. My work and hobbies both take me out into pristine nature and let me tell you, one bout of poison oak blisters on your face and your love for Nature will forevermore be ‘nuanced’.
Despite my best efforts, I got fleas this past workweek. Just sayin’, I got reasons for my particularly strong disgust reflex. It keeps me healthy, it keeps me safe, it naturally keeps my brain free of amoebas!
Ooh, Eastburn is not just a kids’ teacher. He’s a kids’ author!
Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town…
I am perfectly comfortable with anthropomorphism, as anybody who has seen my foxy avatar would know. As a gamer, I have pretended to be werewolves and even wererats. I would even do the cosplay thing, if I was any good at costumes and there was any game convention worth attending. Reading the Chronicles of Narnia, I could never understand why C.S. Lewis believed that ending up as a fire-breathing dragon could be a bad fate.
But seriously, man. Were-HYENAS?
The subconscious reason that one chooses that specific animal to represent you, is because it’s known for traits that you value. I chose a smirking fox and lo, my blog proves me a cunning and elusive wordsmith. Not a coincidence. People who regard themselves as assertive & standoffish choose predators like wolves, and so on.
A hyena is a scavenger with an infamously bad sense of humor.
On the one hand, you could argue that Eastburn chose werehyenas for his book, not his avatar. True. On the other hand, I could… continue the synopsis:
Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town, and they do their best to keep up their cover in front of the humans while the other more aggressive shifters mock the werehyena family for being weak and passive. But Sam sees no other life for himself, as he believes what he is told: he is inferior to the other shifters.
One night, a pack of shifters raids Sam’s house and takes his family, leaving him all alone. With the help of some new friends, Sam sets off on a journey from Vermont to South America to rescue his family. Along the way, he meets various shifters who aid him on his quest. He even meets a tribe of werehyenas in Louisiana who teach him how powerful his kind actually is and how far his ancestry goes back. From them, Sam learns he has a great destiny to fulfill.
That is a textbook Secret King fantasy. A protagonist who was always taught he was inferior to everybody else, and kept encountering good reasons to believe it, suddenly discovers that he’s secretly the center of the universe.
If it weren’t for the part about being taught inferiority then I could believe this was a standard bildungsroman; Luke Skywalker rising from dirt farmer to hero of the Rebellion. But Luke never chafed at being different and inferior, and when he discovered his Force ability, premature reliance on it got him maimed at Bespin.
As Sam draws closer to finding his family, he begins to understand how different the world of shifters is that exists outside of his small hometown. Shifters are tired of humans destroying their homes, and they want not only revenge but also to force humans into submission. It becomes clear that Sam is the only one who can stop a war that’s on the brink of erupting.
Fans of the Spirit Animals and Warriors series will enjoy accompanying Sam on his quest as he discovers not only that his destiny and inner strength are greater than he thought, but also that being a werehyena is not as laughable as he assumed.
A secret king fantasy with an environmentalist theme? Written by a biology teacher who encourages kids to start eating insects for nutrition before his religion forces them to?
Naturally, the health department weighed in. But not on Eastburn, not the way it should have and not even forrr the chillldren!
Cicada tacos crushed by health department — for now
By Karen Graham, 28 May 2021
As millions of cicadas emerged in Loudoun County last week, Chef Tobias Padovano at Cocina on Market in Leesburg began foraging for the insects and serving them in tacos.
However, one customer who ordered and ate the cicada tacos complained to the Loudoun County Health Department, which then told the restaurant to stop serving them.
I want to call him a whistleblower but he was dumb enough to eat cicada tacos in the first place, so maybe a chunk-blower?
Victor Avitto, an environmental health supervisor with the Loudoun County Health Department, told the Times-Mirror that the cicadas need to be sourced from an approved food source, and only then it will be fine to serve them.
“They need to be sourced from a farm that is inspected and certified,” he said.
That ruling… is… fifty shades of WRONG. Does the health department even have rules for certifying “food-grade bugs”?
Padovano says he has found an organic farm in West Virginia where he can source the cicadas, and is hoping the health department will approve it by Saturday so the tacos can go back on the menu.
“We are waiting for authorization,” he said.
Sounds like they do. Make that 51 shades of wrong.