During a preview of its upcoming 110th anniversary dinner, The Explorer’s Club served a small selection of “exotics” made from insects and flowers. Gene Rurka, who says he’s raised “cattle and every other conceivable thing,” is the resident chairman of the club’s exotics committee, which has created meals like roast armadillo and duck tongue. However, Rurka is particularly passionate about spreading the logic behind eating bugs. Rurka finds insects to be perhaps the most sustainable of all food sources. Insects are not only high in protein, but they require very little food or water and produce virtually no carbon footprint.
The unusual hors d’oeuvres are a longstanding tradition at The Explorer’s Club’s annual dinners, where members are recognized for their accomplishments in human discovery and exploration. The club was originally founded in 1904 and counts Sir Edmund Hillary, Theodore Roosevelt, Buzz Aldrin, and James Cameron among its members.
Though most of the preview arrangement for display was for viewing purposes only, guests were encouraged to sample earthworms coyly wrapped into pretzel shapes, as well as grub worms, and lilies. According to Rurka, most bugs are boiled or baked before seasoning. Different bugs; however, react differently to different cooking techniques, especially based on their size and structure. For the record, the grub worms tasted like a very vinegary pickle, and the lilies tasted mildly floral and as innocuous as anything might after eating a bug for the first time. Of the larger creatures, Rurka would like you to know that tarantulas taste quite like soft shell crab.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.