Food of the Past, Present & Future

David Gracer on Tyra

Gotta love sensationalized talk show editing and topics. Extreeeeme slooowmoooooo close uuuups of David @ 1:11.

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Our SF Friends Critter Salon in NYT

Some of you may remember the Eat Bug Eat! event at The Studio for Urban Projects we had about a year ago in SF. MiniLivestock and our SF-based buddies Critter Salon had fun together making dishes and feeding guests some superworm-stuffed mushrooms, and waxworm/mealworm tacos. Since then, Phil Ross and the Critter crew have traveled across the U.S., hosting more insect dinner events in places such as the Machine Project in Echo Park, Los Angeles about a year ago and the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg, New York, which was held last weekend. They were also featured in the NYT the other day. Congrats you guys!

Check out more images here, here, here, here, and here.

Whew, that was a lot of links in one post! Also, thanks to all my thoughtful friends who always forward me every bug-related thing they ever come across. You guys are swell.

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Don’t Forget To See Beetle Queen!

I just saw Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo last night at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown, which was really beautifully produced and written. It’s not just for people who are interested in bugs, and is not heavily academic like some might imagine…it’s a film for everyone, and one that anyone can understand and relate to…which is what I think is so great about it. Everything from the soundtrack (almost all tracks were composed specially for the film), to the visuals, to the story, worked very well together…all very poetic as most viewers would agree. My favorite part is what the Japanese philosophical entomologist/psychologist had to say about life. It was pleasant to hear, thoughtful, and made me reflect on my own life. Maybe I’ll tell you later what he said, but for now, you’ll have to go see the film for yourself!

It was interesting to learn how owning certain insects as pets or for collecting is such a nation-wide, prized and expensive hobby, not to mention a lucrative multi-million dollar industry! It’s not too different from the dog craze in the US, and how some people are willing to pay top dollar for “top” breeds. The film discussed how a culture has identified themselves with insects, which spanned from spiritual purposes, as military armor inspiration, or even popular video game characters. There was also a lively Q&A session with Jessica after the film, which unfortunately was only for the the Friday and Saturday screenings, but you can still see the film up until the 15th! While you’re at the Kabuki, don’t forget to support the project by picking up some Beetle Queen swag!

I had the wonderful opportunity to have dinner with director Jessica Oreck who is one down-to-earth person with lots of exciting, interesting projects lined up. One up-coming project involves Finnish folklore that “…reveals the roles that woodlands – represented by the mysterious mushroom – play in the psychology and sociology of fear, imagination, and survival.” I really enjoyed Beetle Queen, so I have no doubt that her future films will be just as interesting and beautifully composed. All her films are all independently made and depend on viewer support, so go watch this independent documentary film! Hurry, it’s only in SF for less than a week!

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
Sundance Kabuki Theater
San Francisco, CA
July 9 – 15, 2010

See a list of the international screenings here!

Some live insects made it to the show too:

Stick insects are so awesome!

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Salma Hayek Enjoys Eating Insects

So, I was watching Letterman last night and to my surprise, Salma Hayek starts talking about how she likes to eat chapulines and ant eggs. The Late Show even flashed a “Salma’s Insect Recipe” on the screen right before they cut to commercial, but it was too quick for anyone to actually write it down. If I find it, I’ll post it for you guys.

So what’s next? Salma Hayek as the celebrity endorser of entomophagy? It just might work.

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Beetle Queen Conquers SF & MiniLivestock Guest Blogs

You may remember my post not too long ago about Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.

Awesome director and human being Jessica Oseck has this beautiful documentary coming our way to SF July 9-12 at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown. I know it’s a ways, but I wanted to let you all know that they just added SF to the list of screenings around the world. I’m definitely going to go see it and you should too! See you there.

See a list of screenings here.

Also, Jessica asked me to be a guest blogger! Check it out here.

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Read All About It!

Here are two articles covering the MiniLivestock Luncheon a few months back. Although the nutritional and ecological benefits of eating insects are good reasons to adopt entomophagy, I am more interested in how it can culturally effects us. Obviously, cheesecake is not exactly “healthy,” even the “vegan” one I made for the luncheon. I’m not a nutritionist, entomologist, or even an agriculturalist, but I am a person that knows that there needs to be a stronger collaboration between people from different areas of expertise to really improve, strengthen, and contribute to the research of entomophagy. Entomophagy may have existed for many years, and entomophagy-related research exists, but from my experience, I think the accessibility of the information could be improved, which I hope to continue to work on. Btw, I love the last line in the last article. Of course, right? It’s usually everyone’s second thought after “Bugs?” Too bad I’m not really from SF, like most people in this city.

“Eating Bugs” by Heather Smith via MissionLoc@l.
“Bugs: The New ‘MiniLivestock’?” by Jay Barmann via NYMag’s Grub Street, SF.

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TED Talk: “Why Not Eat Insects?”

Finally posting this TED Talk. Prof. Dr. Marcel Dicke is the colleague of a professor I’ve been in contact with in The Netherlands. I contacted them last summer before I went to Amsterdam for summer school, and he and his PhD student were kind enough to offer to meet me and show me their insect facilities, but alas, my lack of direction and time schedule wouldn’t allow me to make the trip to Wageningen. Oh well, maybe next time…

They’re using a lot of chocolate to mask the insects, but what can you do? Eating insects is still new to most and people love chocolate…including myself. Dark, please (cause I’m now older and more refined…not really).

I’ve had the same surprise reaction as Dr. Dicke when finding out that more people than I expected have eaten insects. Perhaps it is just the people I’ve had conversations with in the Bay Area…many have traveled around the world and maybe have tried eating an insect or two while abroad. Others remember trying them as children in elementary school or family-oriented events such as zoos or science museums. Although many people who I’ve talked to have tried an insect in the past, they were mainly in situations where they hardly frequent. When asked if they would eat them in again in the U.S., most responded with a no because we don’t eat insects here. Maybe one day, eating insects won’t just be an exotic excursion, but become “as American as apple pie” (whatever that means).

Found here:

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Crush Your Fears with Augmented Reality

Want to get rid of your fear of insects without facing the real deal? In an upcoming edition of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, the journal describes a study of six females who all have a fear of cockroaches were given augmented reality helmets to wear, where they would experience simulated cockroaches. This is an AR version of exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a method used by psychologists, which introduces patients to their fear in small doses with the goal to eventually cure their phobia. The participants faced high levels of anxiety during the simulated experience similar to if they were faced with real cockroaches. That is as far as the study has gone for now. The folks at NeoAcademic question whether AR exposure therapy works as well as traditional exposure therapy. They say if it does, it opens up the possibility of simulating other phobias that are difficult for therapists to expose to patients without risk or high cost, like fears of falling, flying, heights, and dead things.

Links: NeoAcademic via Slashdot via Gizmodo.

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You may now call me “Master Rosanna”

…or the Master of Wizardry. Your pick. Sorry everyone for not keeping up with the blog posts, but the last month of thesis work totally ate up all my time…finishing made work, thesis writing, designing a book for the thesis writing, designing an exhibition, and presentation…anyways, the good news is that I am now officially a CCA Design MFA!

Congrats to all my classmates for their awesome work, presentations, and exhibitions. Couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals. We made it! Also, I just want to say I have never seen my hands and feet in so many presentations. I could of payed back all my tuition if I only thought to charge for these babies. Thanks to all my classmates, friends, family, and strangers for making these two years memorable. These years have been tough, and I am currently recuperating and attempting to ease back into the “real world.” Blog posts to come. Oh yeah, I’m now available for freelance work (hint hint).

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Watch: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo explores the mystery of the development of Japan’s love affair with bugs. Using insects like an anthropologist’s toolkit, the film uncovers Japanese philosophies that will shift Westerners’ perspectives on nature, beauty, life, and even the seemingly mundane realities of their day-to-day routines.

The documentary debuted last March at the 2009 SXSW in Austin, and has been on a screening tour around the globe since then. What I want to know is, why aren’t they screening in SF? I think the Bay Area audience would definitely be interested in this film. I’d like to figure out a way to organize a screening here…so if any of you out there have any suggestions, let me know. If it doesn’t happen, I might have to make a stop at the screening on my visit to SoCal.

Words from the director:
In making Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, I am striking a new and unconventional approach to science education. My goal is to reach children and adults alike, and to help reframe their relationship with the natural world. My passion isn’t about genetics, it isn’t about global warming, it doesn’t follow the latest craze in the science world – but it is critically relevant to the problems of today. It is about attention to detail, patience, and ultimately harmony – all of which are so rarely present in our modern lives.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo acts like a 360° virtual tour. It revolves slowly around Japan’s love of insects, and in the process of capturing different angles of this micro-culture, it picks up a glimmer of something much larger. Because the film travels not just two-dimensionally around an object, but also three-dimensionally through time, this glimmer of ‘something larger’ ultimately reveals itself, not just as a cultural backdrop, not just as a philosophy, but as an entire way of life – as a possibility to change the most basic nature of our perspectives.

My aim is to challenge the way Westerners view nature, beauty and the hectic monotony of our day-to-day routine. It is my intention to inspire a new sense of wonder – a small sense of wonder – one that does not overwhelm, but acts, like some gentle war of attrition, to slowly but substantially coax us into rethinking how we live our lives. As with the Japanese culture, the film is subtle, but it functions as a passageway to a wholly different world of senses.

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