Has the odd practice of eating worms been socially validated by the appearance of Andrew Zimmern on his television show Bizarre Foods? So, do you eat bizzare foods when you travel to Italy? Foods like Sardinia’s illegal maggot cheese, pecorino con vermini?
In Zimmern’s blog, Steve Walton displays one of his cartoons that features the eating of the proverbial worm in the apple. The point of the cartoon, if you haven’t gotten it yet, is that folks today would be much more likely to joyously chow down on the worm in the apple (if they indeed existed these days) because of Zimmern’s example
Odd. One of the things that forced me to go back to school to study anthropology was Marvin Harris’ popular books, like Cows, Pigs, War and Witches, in which he explains why people do seemingly silly things (like eat worms and have war over pigs). One of the things that made a profound impression on me was a story he recounted about vegetarian Indians (from India, not redskins) coming to England and getting sick. It turns out they were deficient, if I remember correctly, in the amino acid lysine. In India they got plenty of lysine from an unlikely source: insect larvae in fruits and vegetables. Yes, insects are a good source of Lysine. When they immigrated to England, pesticides had by then produced the perfect apple, senza vermini. So they got sick.
Live and learn.
American Indians in California chowed down on grasshoppers they got when they burned grassland and rounded up the little critters in a big festival of delicious delights. They weren’t eating bizarre foods just because they could, they were having a ball surviving.
Andrew seems to have a ball with his bizarre foods, too. Good for him, because a new season of Bizarre Foods start Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 10PM ET/PT on the Travel Channel.
Be there or be square. I’ll be in Italy.