Tasty ants!

Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (ferndriv@usp.br)
Tue, 15 Aug 1995 17:10:39 -0500 (CDT)

> > >I have ants crawling around my CPs all the time. I appreciate their
> > > presence. They don't seem to harm the plants. _Infact, they make
> > >numerous tasteful snacks._ My sundews and small venus flytraps...

> > Umm, you _did_ mean for your plants. I mean, hey, they may be full of
> > protein, but how hungry can a guy get?

> Well have you ever heard of cinnamon ants (which I am told their name
> reflects their taste) or honey ants? People have been making desserts
> out of these culinary wonders for quite a long time. Nasty isn't it!

I've heard that ants are a delicacy in China and I know from
members of the Japanese colony here in Brazil that these honey ants are
supposedly quite good. Some eat them raw, but I think they can also be
cooked. If I remember well, to catch them and not get stung, people would
stand in buckets of water near the nests.
Anyways, I've tried asking a few of the giant anteaters I've seen
on my trips around Brazil how tasty ants are, but since I didn't get a
response I decided to try them out for myself. Two years ago I went to
Australia and other than meeting local CP'ers (hi aussies!) and seeing
tons of the native CPs in the wild, I visited an aborigine camp in the
Northern Territory. They took our group on a bush walk to shows us the
medicinal (and other) uses they made of the local savanna vegetation.
I found a nest built out of bits of dried grass on a tree branch
and asked one of the abos what it was. He opened it up and showed that it
was an ant nest and as hundreds of them crawled over his hands he went
on to tell us how abos used those yellowish ants to make medicine
against colds. I asked if they boiled them and drank the tea or whatever
and he told me that they simply ate them alive and that they tasted like
So my curiosity got the best of me and since I've always loved to
try out new and exotic food, I simply plucked one into my mouth, biting
down quickly on the large sucker, so as to not give it a chance to bite my
tongue first! Actually, I was surprised to see how docile most aussie
ants were, comparing with the ones here in Brazil. Even the large ones
didn't seem to bite too hard.
Anyways, the ant did taste like lemon! As a biologist I had to
be sure of my results and thus increased the number of 'volunteer' ants
in the experiment. To complete my experiment, I had to convince a few
more human 'volunteers' to prove that my taste buds weren't wrong. In
the end, each of us got a few bites on the tongue and a few stray ants
crawling around our faces, but we all agreed that they were quite tasty,
as long as you didn't think too much about what you were eating!
So next time you go to Australia's Northern Territory, don't
forget to have your travel agent book you up for lunch with the abos so
you can taste their delicious lemon ants, kangaroo, lizards, etc.!!

Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brasil