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The Bug Banquet: Serving Sustainability in a Cricket Pesto Flatbread


“You’re invited to the Bug Banquet,” the email read. Ewwww! Must I go? I am psychologically averse to insects, but as a good sport, I’ll try.

The Bug Banquet is a culinary exploration of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects. It was created as an “experience” to help guests enjoy insects as food. Founders Chloé Bulpin, a senior at at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Alex Gandarillas and Matt Kominsky, two Johnson & Wales University culinary students, believe in the power of visual imagery to educate.

The intriguing menu was served cocktail style and the presentation was gorgeous.

  • Pesto Flatbread: cricket pesto, mozzarella and artichokes
  • Tempura Skewers: crickets, silkworms and scallions with a spicy sriracha sauce
  • Watermelon and Waterbugs: compressed watermelon, apple and waterbug
  • Spicy Silkworm: Korean-style marinated silkworms with hummus and roasted cauliflower
  • Dark Chocolate-Coated Crickets
  • Sundae Shooters: waterbug ice cream, caramel, and banana
  • Several different cookies and tarts made with cricket flour

How did the creations taste? The comment most often overheard was, “I would never have known.” Ground crickets in pesto tasted “like escargot.” Waterbugs had a “floral extract that is not off-putting.” Roasted crickets tasted “like roasted fava beans with a crunchy outside and a mushy middle.” Dark Chocolate-Coated Crickets were “reminiscent of a Ferrero Rocher candy.”
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Nuking the Microwave Myth: Microwaved Foods are Actually Safe and Nutritious


More than 90 percent of Americans have a microwave primarily to reheat leftovers and coffee. Yet a growing legion of eco-lovers want no part of the convenient device. The microwave oven may be falling out of fashion. Perhaps the internet is to blame.

Article after article claims microwave ovens leak radiation, and since high levels of direct radiation cause DNA damage and cancer, then microwave ovens cannot possibly be safe. Except that’s not true.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation, something like radio waves, that make water molecules in food vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food. Microwave ovens leak no more radiation than a cellphone, laptop computer, or an airplane flight. The Food and Drug Administration enforces strict standards for the amount of radiation that is allowed to leak. Consumer Reports says the vast majority of microwave ovens show very little leakage of radiation. And the level of exposure drops dramatically as you move away from the oven.

But because the risks of long-term exposure to low-level radiation emissions is unknown, to be absolutely safe, avoid all electronic contraptions. (Yeah right.)
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Detox Diets and Fasts Do Not Work and May Increase Toxins in the Body


To detox or not to detox? That is the question I had for Gerard Mullin, MD of Johns Hopkins University as he spoke about nutritional detoxification at the 2013 Food & Nutrition Conferences and Expo a few weeks ago.

Dr. Mullin said that toxins are everywhere – in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the things we touch.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a carcinogen, is in plastics, dental sealants, canned food linings, and cash register receipts.

Phthalates, other carcinogens, are found in fatty milk, butter and meats, along with personal care products, detergents, children’s toys, printing inks, and more.

Heavy metals, like arsenic, mercury and lead, are in food, batteries, paints, plastics, and fertilizers.

For the most part, toxins are “endocrine disruptors” that change the way our hormones regulate bodily functions. In animal studies, endocrine disruptors are linked to cancers, birth defects, diabetes, and other diseases. What is worse is that, when they work together, the sum of their actions is greater than the whole, and they are stored practically forever in body fat. Whether or not an individual develops a problem depends on genetics, level of exposure, and the quality of nutrients in the diet.
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Monsanto Named a Great Place to Work While Making the Earth a Terrible Place to Live

There is something truly rotten about Monsanto.

The bio tech agricultural giant has been named #12 in the “prestigious” World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work. A dubious award, considering this innocent Google search:

why monsanto is...

Evil, bad, unethical, and harmful. Sounds like a really great place to work, huh? More on that in a minute, but let’s discuss the merit of this particular award first.

Great Places to Work is a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm that decided three years ago to begin naming the best places in the world to work. The criteria is based on workplace culture, and companies can only be eligible for the list if they have at least 5,500 employees—40 percent of which must work outside the company’s home country.

These accolades, bestowed upon 25 companies, aren’t based on ethics, fair business practices, or community service—they are survey-based and reflect the feelings of millions of employees from thousands of different companies. All of Monsanto’s happy employees might frown if they knew about the evil practices of their employer. The fact that McDonald’s—the fast food chain that basically admitted their full-time employees couldn’t survive on their wages—made this list even more suspect.

In short, Monsanto has not won a humanitarian or global stewardship award, and probably never will.
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Banksy Goes Ham: Artist’s Truck Full of Stuffed Animals Satirizes Factory Farming

Everyone’s favorite anonymous graffiti artist/activist has turned his analytical eye toward the meat industry. Banksy, the probable British artist known for his hidden identity and politically-charged spray paint satire, has momentarily stopped the illuminating public vandalization to trot out a bizarre mobile art installation in New York City. In a green truck that could have carried supplies during World War II, Banksy stuffed a cadre of animatronic stuffed animals; mooing, squawking, and bleating as they hang out of the truck in horror, all in an effort to raise awareness about factory farmed animals.

Banksy has been tagging New York City for weeks on his “Better Out Than In” tour, an unofficial residency that has sparked renewed interest in the unknown artist. He’s made a 9/11 tribute, taken on McDonald’s with a cartoon-like sculpture, painted urinating dogs, and generally gotten under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s skin. This latest mobile piece will make people think without defacing any public property.

The piece—called “Sirens of the Lambs”— will be scuttling around New York City for two weeks, and appropriately enough, began its journey in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. Via a phone number on the side of the truck, streetwalkers can dial in to listen to an audio companion about the piece. The cheeky narrator wonders if the piece is a bit “subtle,” and we also learn Banksy worked in a butcher shop as a younger man, “an experienced that seems to have resonated with him.”
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