You Are What You Don’t Eat


“Slithering green pincer-headed little monsters” or a culinary delight? This photograph from Man Eating Bugs by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio (Ten Speed Press, 1998) shows zaza-mushi, larvae of aquatic caddis flies, retrieved from Japan’s Tenryu River. Cooked in soy sauce and sugar, zaza-mushi is a delicacy in some rural Japanese towns. Meanwhile, back in the United States, we have our own epicuriosities:

Total retail dollar sales of potato chips in 1997: $5.2 billion

Percent of calories that Americans get from fat: 34

Pounds of chocolate consumed per capita, per year: 11.7

Average number of insect fragments the FDA allows to be present in a 100-gram sample of chocolate: 90

Average number of insect fragments the FDA allows to be present in a 100-gram sample of peanut butter: 30

Percent of adult Americans who always or usually use mayonnaise or mayonnaise-type salad dressing on their sandwiches: 57

Percent of analyzed fruit and vegetable samples (fresh and processed together) found to contain at least one pesticide residue per sample: 71.8

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