“We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.” Winston Churchill
In general, we wouldn’t think of worms as a delicacy but as an essential element to our earth. Worms tunnel through dirt giving it many of the nutrients it needs. Raised by humans, silkworms give their lives so that we can wear beautiful garments. Mealworms, which are actually not a worm but the pupae stage of the darkling beetle, are raised to feed the birds.
We eat a number of delicious foods here in Asia. Why then should we consider eating these worms?
Should we consider eating earthworms? There have been many reports related to the healthy benefits of eating earthworms. After an internet search, I found some good news for those of us who get squeamish at the thought. Medical doctors have founds some cases where teens who ate earthworms developed a serious complication from lung abscesses caused by parasites that were living on the earthworm the teenager ate. Now none of us want lung abscesses, so there’s my answer. No eating raw earthworms. Cooked earthworms might be a different story.
Silkworms are considered a delicacy in Asia. Thanks to Jim Thompson, the silk industry in Thailand developed a new market which allowed the old industry to rekindle its vitality. Thai silk is well know throughout Asia and in many parts of the world. The problem with silkworms, which are now domestic animals and totally dependant on humans to feed them mulberry leaves daily, is that the worms are boiled in the process of retrieving the silk. Some companies are working at ways to retrieve the silk without hurting the pupae, but for the most part, we still rely on boiled cocoons to retrieve a lengthy line of pure silk. To eat silkworms, according to Eco Localizer, is quite humane since the worms are being boiled anyway to produce silk. In Thailand, silkworms are generally fried after they are retrieved from the boiling water to make a tasty treat. I’ve heard of some students dipping them in ranch dip and eating them like vegetable sticks. So, why not give them a try?
Mealworms are considered a healthy snack by many. Mealworms, as stated earlier, are not really worms at all. I have kept them in our classrooms for science observations. Students really love them because they eat oatmeal all day and they quickly change stages making it easy for us to label the stages of metamorphosis. After a bit of research, I cooked and ground some of these mealworms to eat in some chocolate chip cookies. The third grade students could choose whether or not they would eat the mealworm cookies. There was to be no presser at all. When our most prim and proper girl picked up the first cooky, ate it all with a smile and stated, “delicious,” every student, along with our elementary principal, felt obligated to eat the worm cookies. So why not? After all, these “worms” eat oatmeal all day long. It could only improve our digestion.
There’s my one don’t and two DOs for those of you who are questioning the idea. If earthworms are your only option, then go ahead and skip them. To be on the safe side, we should probably wash and cook “well done” any worm we want to eat. Then, go ahead and enjoy your worms, it might give you a new perspective on life, which could stimulate your creativity.