Graced by Gracer…



When you wake up in the morning and find this atop some other random dirty dishes in your sink, you know for sure you had one hell of a good time. Or a really bad time. Thankfully for us it was of the former, not the latter.

Some of you might be familiar with David Gracer, environmentalist /entomophagist. David used to live in our apartment before the tenant before us. Some stray mail led me to the former tenant, Michael, who told me all about the guy that lived here before him, David Gracer. My interest was piqued, so I did a little bit of research and found his website, Sunrise Land Shrimp .

I had been running across his “bugfests” through other foodie blogs. Later, some important-looking mail for Gracer delivered to our address gave me my “in” to give him a call. We had a really great conversation and I explained my passion for bread making and experimental kitchen craft. He suggested the use “cricket flour” as an additive to breads, and I was definitely interested.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the idea. I already use milk in some of my breads as an additive for protein, something yeast particularly enjoys and makes the yeast bacteria more active and therefore expel more carbon dioxide resulting in a higher, lighter loaf. I surmised that cricket would provide the same purpose while also adding a unique – if not somewhat malty – flavor.

But first, an experiment. David talked lightly about the idea of making cricket pancakes and I thought, “hey.. I actually have everything to make pancakes… let’s try it!” So we did, and they were *truly* fantastic.

As a food additive, I am completely in support of bug-eating. They are tasty and nutritious and inexpensive to farm; they’re eco-friendly and at the same time culturally exotic. What more could one ask for?

But if you know David at all, it wasn’t going to stop there. We prepared some sourdough loaves for comparison and while those were rising, we tasted some exotic critters:

Justin was tempted by only a dollar! And he really ended up liking the spiced crickets. I think I saw him sneak in seconds. But my favorite were the giant winged ants. David suggested we use the wing as a “handle” because they easily get stuck in between the teeth. They tasted like bacon.

Borba particularly liked the wax worms, which are technically a caterpillar. They’re David’s favorite, too. I couldn’t quite get past the texture, so we mashed them up into a “hummus” with some garlic & sesame seeds. Lip-smacking delicious on tortilla chips!

The sourdough loaves came out kind of dense and flattened, but not because of the bugs so much – I think I rushed them and didn’t give them enough time to rise, but the “fortified” loaf did rise significantly more than the straight “sourdough.” My next attempt will be in a sandwich loaf.

So it was a super-fun night and I’m so glad we got to meet & hang out with David. He’s bugtastic!


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