Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/550

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teries of the cuisine, he made a soup which was really delicious, and was so pronounced by dozens of prominent St. Louisians who tried it. Shaw, in his 'Travels in Barbary' (Oxford, England, 1738), in which two pages are devoted to a description of the ravages of locusts, mentions that they are sprinkled with salt and fried, when they taste like crawfish; and Mr. Bonnet declared that this locust-soup reminded him of nothing so much as crawfish bisque, which is so highly esteemed by connoisseurs. He also declared that he would gladly have it on his bill of fare every day if he could only get the insects.

"His method of preparation was to boil on a brisk fire, having previously seasoned them with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg, the whole being occasionally stirred. When cooked, they are pounded in a mortar with bread fried brown, or purée of rice. They are then replaced in the saucepan and thickened to a broth by placing on the warm part of the stove, but not allowed to boil. For use, the broth is passed through a strainer and a few croutons are added. I carried a small box of fried ones to Europe, where they were tasted by numerous persons, including members of the London Entomological Society and of the Société Entomologique de France. Without exception, they were pronounced far better than was expected, and those fried in their own oil, with a little salt, remained good and fresh for several months; others fried in butter became slightly rancid, a fault of the butter. Mr. C. Home, F. Z. S., writing to 'Science Gossip,' says: 'In the evening I had asked two gentlemen to dinner, and gave them a curry and croquette of locusts. They passed for Cabool shrimps, which in flavor they very much resembled; but the cook having inadvertently left a hind-leg in a croquette, they were found out, to the infinite disgust of one of the party and the amusement of the other.'. . .

"Locusts will hardly come into general use for food, except where they are annually abundant; and our Western farmers, who occasionally suffer from them, will not easily be brought to a due appreciation of them for this purpose. Prejudiced against them, fighting to overcome them, killing them in large quantities, until the stench from their decomposing bodies becomes at times most offensive, they find little that is attractive in the pests.

"For these reasons, as long as other food is attainable, the locust will be apt to be rejected by most persons. Yet the fact remains that they do make very good food. When freshly caught in large quantities, the mangled mass presents a not very appetizing appearance, and emits a strong and not overpleasant odor; but, rinsed and scalded, they turn a brownish red, look much more inviting, and give no disagreeable smell."

That locusts have been used as food from remote antiquity is well attested by historical writers. As stated before, they are classed among the "clean meats" in Leviticus (xi, 22), and are referred to in other parts of the Bible as human food. One of the Nineveh