Yale Bulletin and Calendar

September 20-27, 1999Volume 28, Number 5

Chef David George Gordon, author of the "Eat-A-Bug Cookbook" and "The Compleat Cockroach" will create culinary treats using insects during "Edible Insects Weekend" at the Peabody Museum.

Taste-test to top tribute to insects

In this country, if someone asks you to "eat a bug," they're usually daring you to do something distasteful.

But in many corners of the world, that same request is simply an invitation to dinner.

The vast variety of insects and their role in the daily life of humans -- including their use as food -- will be celebrated during the "Edible Insects Weekend" on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26, at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

The eating of insects, known as entomophagy, has been practiced for centuries throughout most of the world. In fact, in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Central and South America, people eat insects as part of their regular dietary regime.

More than 900,000 species of insects have been identified to date. Insects are found on all continents and in many different ecosystems, even in snow and ice. In fact, the only places where insects are not found are the polar ice caps and the oceans and seas.

The Peabody's "Edible Insect Weekend" will feature a variety of activities for the whole family, including lectures, displays, performances and hands-on activities.

Highlighting the weekend will be a cooking demonstration by David George Gordon, author of "The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook," which will include an opportunity for adventurous members of the audience to taste-test the chef's culinary creations. Cooking demonstrations will be held on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. Seating is limited.

There will also be an informal lecture on the diverse kinds of insects that can be found in your own backyard by Leonard Munstermann, curator of entomology at the Peabody Museum and a research scientist in the School of Medicine's department of epidemiology and public health (EPH), at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors to the museum are invited to bring their own specimens in a jar for identification. (Note: All jars should be tightly covered.)

In addition, Dr. William Krinsky, associate clinical professor in EPH, will discuss the use of insects in police murder investigations. His talk, titled "The Dead Can't Speak, but Their Maggots Can -- Insects and Crime," will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Due to the sensitive nature of this lecture, only adults will be admitted.

Visitors to the museum can also use microscopes to inspect fossils of prehistoric insects and specimens from the Peabody's collections, or can view live specimens at the Insect Zoo with wildlife rehabilitator Vinny Kovalik. There will be craft activities for youngsters age 6-12 that will help them understand the anatomy of insects and their relationship to the environment. In addition, adults and children can create insect origami to take home, and test their observational skills with worksheets and activity books using the museum's dioramas.

Other activities during "Edible Insect Weekend" will include:

* "Anansi the Spider," a storytelling with Jeff and Synia McQuillan, at 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday.

* A talk on the types of bees, their behavior and how honey is produced by Howard Blackiston of the Connecticut Beekeepers' Association, at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

* An interactive story and a bee dance for young children by Bernice the Bee, at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The "Edible Insect Weekend" is sponsored by People's Bank. Admission to all activities is free with museum admission.

The Peabody Museum of Natural History, located at 170 Whitney Ave., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for children ages 3-15 and senior citizens age 65 and older; and free to members of the Yale community with a valid I.D. Parking is available in the Peabody Visitor Parking Lot; the entrance is located on Whitney Avenue one block north of the museum. For further information, call the InfoTape at 432-5050 or visit the museum's website at www.peabody.yale.edu.


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Campus Notes

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