An entire chapter is devoted to the eating of insects, including arachnids:
“Reaumur tells us of a young lady, who, when she walked in her grounds, never saw a spider that she did not take and crunch upon the spot. Another female, the celebrated Anna Maria Schurman, used to eat them like nuts, which she affirmed they much resembled in taste, excusing their propensity by saying that she was born under the sign Scorpio…And if, not content with eating spiders seriatim, you should feel desirous of eating them by handfuls, you may shelter yourself under the authority of the German immortalized by Rosel, who used to spread them upon bread like butter, observing that he found them very useful. “
The entire idea of eating insects for lunch brings to mind our globe’s weather changes, and how warm weather plants are sprouting much farther north than was once possible. And how warm weather often brings bugs and prolonged warm weather helps them mutate into giant beasts.
Ms. Tomato knows a little about insect eating due to childhood years spent in South America. One evening after church, where her family spent about 50% of their waking hours, a bottle filled with brown salted bits began to circulate. Each bit was the size of a large popcorn hull, pleasantly crunchy and salty, and we confess it would have been easy to eat several. They were roasted ants..and we felt like warriors. It turns out they were no more repulsive than eating a soft-eyed cow or a cute chicken.
Then there was an instance, during that long ago very warm summer spent as a culinary student in the French countryside, when our grizzled Gallic instructor grabbed a confused, rather large spider off the lunch table and popped it into his mouth, without missing a single chew. It was ingested, if we recall correctly, between a mouthful of Tournedos de Beouf and Pommes Anna.
He did not mention if the taste combination was worthy of his august tastebuds. However, insects have long been consumed in certain cultures, particularly close to the equator where they are plentiful and grow to the size of small birds. (We snatched the above photo from the www.Frizz-Restaurant.com website that provides a wealth of information on Cambodian cuisine with an entire page devoted to ginormous fried spiders, the "caviar of Cambodia.")
Just musing...and possibly wanting to be the first to identify a possible future trend. Arachnids--local, fresh, seasonal. They took over some farmer's clover field to the tune of 60 acres this summer in British Columbia. And the cookbooks haven’t yet glutted the market.
The Curiosities of Food
Or The Dainties and Delicacies of Different Nations Obtained from the Animal Kingdom
By Peter Lund Simmonds, FRGS, FSS (1814-1897)
Ten Speed Press