Save the World With GMO-free Insects

March Against Monsanto Boston

photo, concept, artwork: Pampi and Lore

The UN says insects might just be the answer to solving world hunger.  Well, as creepy as it sounds, insects are less creepy than genetically modified Monsanto seeds.  I’d rather eat a cricket than corn from a cob the size of a tree trunk.  Yesterday, protesters marched against Monsanto seeds in 436 cities in 52 countries demanding, among other things that food products with GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) be labeled, something the FDA does not currently require.  The U.S. Senate recently rejected an amendment to a farm bill to permit states to require labeling on GMO products.  The vote wasn’t even close as senators from heavily subsidized farm states opposed it with help from the biotech corporate lobby.  The irony here is that GMO seeds that can be engineered to be disease free and resistant to drought, herbicides (other than than the ones produced by the major players) and probably even fire too, threaten nature as much as they do humans.  GMO seeds, like imported fishzilla, killer bees, jumping carp and shiny ladybugs, have a tendency to go rogue and invade the native species.  GMO seeds have a competitive advantage over native crops and could literally drive them out of existence.  Soon corn and soybeans will be the only crops left on the planet.  Get ready to eat lots of popcorn, corn-on-the giant cob, cornflakes, cornbread, corn nuts and grits washed down with Kentucky bourbon.  Is this the answer to world hunger?

Frankly, I’d rather eat honey and a variety of plants, but GMO seeds even threaten our bees.  As goes the bees, so goes our honey, plants and our planet for that matter. According to the New Agriculturist, “bees pollinate one sixth of the world’s flowering plant species and 400 agricultural plants” like beans, carrots, onions, cherries, apples and tomatoes. There is evidence that GMO pollen poisons bees.  And if GMOs poison bees, imagine what it could do to humans and insects.

Which brings me to insects.  I really would rather eat a cricket, grasshopper or termite than a potentially poisonous food source grown in a laboratory.  And the many millions of people on the planet who are starving or severely malnourished deserve healthy food, not a chemically created food experiment.  According to the UN study, insects are healthy, highly nutritious and in abundant supply.  In fact, in some cultures, insects are prized: ants, grubs, waterbugs, crickets, beetles, and scorpions to name a few.  And to raise insects for consumption leaves a much lighter carbon footprint than the production of animals.

Now I know the consumption of insects is mostly taboo in Western culture, but in the not too distant future, I can envision restaurants specializing in insects that cater to an environmentally conscious crowd who are against GMO seeds and devoted to eating healthy while saving the planet.  I have some menu ideas for the enterprising U.S. restauranteur:

Appetizers

Fried Cricket Bits

Beetle Tartare

Entrees

Chipotle Grasshopper:  served with spicy termite oil on a GMO-free sesame seed bun

Barbecued Grubs:  grilled and served on a bed of lightly seasoned sea urchins

Dessert

Starfish:  soaked and served in flaming sangria drink topped with chocolate covered ant sprinkles and anise seeds

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Muckin Around With Nature

English: Multicolored Asian lady beetle feedin...

English: Multicolored Asian lady beetle feeding on soybean aphids. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a kid, I believed that ladybugs, or ladybird beetles as some call them, brought good luck.  I’d see one and marvel at their shiny, red shells.  They may have even been the inspiration for the red M & M.  Farmers love these lucky beetles because they eat pests.  They tend to favor spicy aphids; the ladybugs, that is – not the farmers.   But as it turns out, imported Asian ladybugs are becoming pests themselves, not only eating aphids, but whole vineyards.

I’m no scientist, but common sense would suggest that it’s not such a great idea to take a species of insect, fish, snake or bee from its natural environment and transplant it into an unfamiliar one.  Look at what’s happened in U.S. lakes and rivers with fishzillas swimming amok, and the jumping carp that eat up the food supply, leaving nothing for the others.   It’s not their fault really.  They didn’t chose to invade – someone brought them here or there as the case may be.  And the killer bees – that was an experiment gone bad.  The rogue bees escaped their bondage and have sought revenge ever since.  And all those lamprey vampire eels.  Have you heard?  They’ve been attacking other fish and unsuspecting swimmers in record numbers.  They’d have stayed in their natural aquatic habitat had it not been for the foolish men who dug canals connecting fresh water lakes to the sea.  Exhibit D:  pythons.  Who thought it was a good idea to bring them to Florida to keep as pets, especially when they prey on other pets.

Hey humans with your large carbon footprints, GMO seeds and hair-brained ideas:  Stop mucking around with nature.  It will only lead to catastrophe.

Ode to Organic

SuperFood

ODE TO ORGANIC

Range free and cageless eggs

Atop heaps of rare grass fed beef

Resting on a bed of quinoa

Peppered with chia seeds

Superfood of the Aztecs and the Mayans

And perhaps the Incas too

Beckon me to supp

And I dine

Sipping wine

Made from organic non-GMO yeast

 As Guatemalan fair trade percolates

And my mind briefly drifts to the

Snickers bar I have tucked away in my dresser drawer

That could secretly complete the feast

Boron Nitride for Bacon or Hands?

Boron nitride

Boron nitride (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boron nitride, what is it and why is it in the news?  I thought I knew what it was, but I was wrong.  Boron nitride is not the preservative found in bacon to keep the strips looking fresh.  And it’s not the stuff we used to wash our hands in elementary school – that was Borax, if you are old enough, you know what I’m talking about.  That stuff was rough…it’s a wonder our hands survived that sand paper powdery grit with the slight medicinal smell.  Boron nitride is neither of those things.  But like Borax and meat preserving nitrates, it does preserve and clean up.  Also known as white graphene, (which my spellchecker has never heard of), boron nitride can be used to create strands or sheets of atoms to spread out on a chemical spill to clean it up.  When these porous sheets bond together, they create a white powder, not unlike Borax and like Bounty, can pick up the nastiest of spills from oil to other industrial chemicals that pollute our lakes and possibly create mutant species of fish like the fishzilla found in Central Park and all those river monsters Jeremy Wade keeps catching and releasing.  This stuff can absorb something like 30 times its weight and get this, it can be reused!  There is the little detail of setting it on fire to make it reusable, and I’m not so sure how safe that is if it means burning noxious chemicals, but I’m no scientist so I trust they know what they are doing when they ignite the thing.  I mean recycling is good, right?

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Snakehead Fish On in Central Park

I’ve subscribed to some free newsfeeds – Yahoo, NY Times, BBC News and a few others and when I run across an item that intrigues me, I star it for future reference.  Excluding Syria and the latest developments in the Boston Marathon bombing, last week was a fairly slow news week and if I were in charge of headlines at a major newspaper, here’s what I would run:  Snakeheads of Central Park.  Other stories on the front page would be Horsemeat Plant in New Mexico and Boraxo beats Bounty to clean up spills, more on this later.

If you’ve ever been fishing in Central Park, you might have caught a few bass, maybe a crappie or two, but it is said that a fish that looks like a snake and has a two rows of razor sharp teeth instead of fangs inhabits the waters of the Harlem Meer.  The locals call it Fishzilla and by all accounts it is a predator like no other and will eat anything in its path, including (perhaps) fishermen?  A native of the freshwaters of Korea, Russia and China, the snakehead is considered an invasive species in American waters.   It may be an urban myth, but some say Fishzilla can live under ice and maybe in ice, and on land for days on end.  As reported by Marc Santora and Vivian Yee in the New York Times, a fisherman, when asked what he would do if he caught one said, “RUN”.

I hear snakehead are good eating – somewhat of a delicacy in some parts of the world.  I bet you could make some “killer” split pea snakehead soup or maybe some Fishzilla balls seasoned in Cajon spices, battered and deep fried in peanut oil, like the gar balls featured on the Animal Planet show, Swamp’d.  I’d fry one up and serve as snakehead fish-n-chips.  Kids would probably love fishzilla sticks.