The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies, Anyone?
Earlier this year, I blogged about a recipe for “Elephant Skin and Ivory” (a black and white tinted candy) that I found in the 1984 National Museum of Natural History Docent Cookbook. Well, while researching the history of the same museum’s Insect Zoo for my recent blog post, I came across another recipe that I'd like to share—mealworm chocolate chip cookies.
This recipe appears in the November 1981 issue of Creature Features, the Insect Zoo's newsletter, at the end of an article titled "A Gourmet's Tour of the Insect Zoo" (see
the Archives’ Accession #11-203). The article discusses the nutritional value of grasshoppers, moth larvae, and beetle grubs; the various ways in which different types of ants are eaten around the world; and the amount of insects, eggs, and maggots that are allowable in products made from fruit.
The last paragraph of the article instructs on preparing mealworms for culinary use. Live bran-raised larvae should be washed and then killed by freezing or boiling. (The author notes, "not only is it cruel to kill them by roasting, but they will also have crawled all over the oven before they die"). They should then be baked on a cookie sheet at 225 degrees Farenheit for two to three hours. Next, they need to be ground in a blender or food processor until they are reduced to "a very fatty, protein-rich flour," which can then be stored in the freezer. The article does not state the amount of unprocessed mealworms needed to produce the amount that’s called for in the recipe.
Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
12 oz chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup ground mealworms
1 1/3 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Cream butter with sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients, then chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375⁰ F for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately 8 dozen cookies. Recipe may be halved.
I have opted not to make this recipe despite ribbing from some of my fellow staff (none of whom are willing to taste test the cookies anyway). If any of you are adventurous enough to try it, please let us know how they come out!