Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.
Are you still trying to find that one detail that will set your Halloween party apart from all of the others? Do you want your guests to be talking about it for weeks? Well, the Archives is here to help!
Instead of making fake body parts out of spaghetti and grapes, try serving up some real creepy crawlies using recipes from our collections instead. Straight from an O. Orkin Zoo press release titled "Bugs on the Menu" (June 1997), I bring you El Hopper Tacos and Infested Fudge, both containing actual insects.
El Hopper Tacos
- 6 taco shells
- 1 cup grasshoppers (legs and wings removed)
- 2 cups water
- 1 onion, peeled, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- Lettuce, chopped
- Cheddar cheese, grated
- Additional onion, chopped
- Tomato, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring grasshoppers, water, salt, pepper, 1 chopped onion and the bay leaf to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Drain off liquid. Add garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire, and tomato sauces and simmer about 10 minutes. Partially fill taco shells with some of the grasshopper filling, top with lettuce, onion, cheese, and tomato.
- ¾ cup margarine or butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate
- 17 ounces marshmallow creme
- 1 cup dry roasted insects*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine margarine, sugar and evaporated milk in a heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for five minutes over medium heat. Remove pan from heat source and add chocolate pieces; stir until chocolate is melted. Add marshmallow creme, dry roasted insects and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour into a buttered nine by twelve-inch pan. Let stand at room temperature until firm enough to cut into squares.
* Dry roasted insects: Place insects (make sure they are edible - see suggestion below) on a cookie sheet and bake in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 1 ½ hours, or until crispy.
Suggestion: Ants and crickets are appropriate for this recipe. They will add crunch to the fudge (like nuts).
The O. Orkin Insect Zoo is part of the National Museum of Natural History. This press release discusses the insect zoo's mission, "to change people's attitudes toward insects and insect relatives by eliminating misconceptions about these small creatures." The release gives credit for the recipes to Buzz McClain, Journal staff writer, The Prince George's Journal, August 8, 1984.
For an additional insect recipe and more tips for preparing insects for cooking, see my previous blog post, Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies, Anyone?. If you don't think you'll be able to obtain the main ingredient in these recipes in time for tomorrow's party, check out my previous post for insect and elephant free Elephant Hide and Ivory.
- Mealworm Chocolate Chip Cookies, Anyone?, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- A Recipe: Elephant Hide and Ivory, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 12-545 - National Museum of Natural History, Office of Public Affairs, Press Releases, 1992-2002, Smithsonian Institution Archives