Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Silkworm Pupae--Yum!

Over at Pink Tentacle, they're keeping us updated on the latest plans for nutritious Martian cuisine. Should we ever colonize The Red Planet, we'll have to be prepared to provide for ourselves, since a supply ship trip from Earth will take 18 months. Scientists in Japan are thinking about what should be on the menu.

At a recent meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union held in Chiba, Professor Masamichi Yamashita (58) of the Japan Aeropsace Exploration Agency (JAXA) unveiled a unique space agriculture concept that would liven up the rather mundane task of cultivating rice in greenhouse domes. In his concept, settlers would plant mulberry trees and breed silkworms, the pupae of which would be consumed as a source of animal protein.
Okay, I've eaten some weird things in Asian restaurants, and seen even weirder things on the menu, but I would never have thought this one up. Just too squishy. The pupae are being suggested as food for chickens and fish, which settlers could raise on Mars, but also as a tasty snack for humans.
“When cooked, silkworm pupae taste like shrimp or crab meat,” says Professor Yamashita. “People all over Japan ate them during the food shortages after World War II, and you can still buy canned pupae in Nagano prefecture.”
I need to remember to run to the store and stock up on canned pupae. Professor Yamashita says Japan's long-established culinary culture is an advantage when looking for efficient ways to carry out space agriculture. Yes, I can see how an ability to cook silkworm pupae creatively would be a great asset in the Martian kitchen. I really don't mean to make fun. We're the culture that invented Spam after all, but one thing I can tell from reading things like this: there's going to be a lot of adjusting to do for people who are serious about space exploration.

I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. I just can't see myself sitting around the dinner table saying, "Pass the pupae, please."

Hat tip: Futurismic


  1. I'm not about to put anything in my mouth that sounds like worm poop.

  2. I think that would be worm poopie, don't you?

  3. I just love the consciousness-level-raising quality of these interactions...

  4. consciousness raising, eyebrow raising, bile raising, vomit raising........:):)

    If it truly tastes like shrimp meat, I could possibly be induced to give a try. Honest. Have you seen those boogers before they are cooked? The little ones especially, look like bugs.....

    And ANYTHING can be palatable deep-fried ya-know! Or maybe......
    a pupae omelette, smothered in 3 cheeses and even better Hollandaise sauce. Almost sounds good. Almost. :):)