Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New taste treat for all

Insects are a culinary delicacy around the world, but will we bite?

By: Judi Stuart
Port Discover: Visitor Services Manager
You will not believe this; I didn’t.  On Amazon, you can find new mealtime delights like Fluker’s Gourmet Canned Crickets, Ultimate Insect and Bug Candy, Larvets (BBQ), Edible Pupae, and Crickettes in sour cream and onion and bacon and cheese flavors.  They can be delivered right to your doorstep for your pleasure.
            Often, when I am enjoying a dinner of shrimp which is one of my favorite foods, Hubby says, “You know that you’re eating bugs.” Of course, he’s kidding, and he knows better, but they do resemble bugs so I always wonder a little.  Some people even refer to them as the “cockroaches of the sea.”

            People of western European decent who now inhabit places all over the earth are generally not too keen on eating bugs.  In Asia, China, Africa, South America, and many other areas, insects are a daily part of the diet and are often considered a delicacy.  Two billion people consume insects as part of their diets.
            Early Europeans were farmers who quickly recognized that insects were fierce enemies of the crops they tried to raise.  Killing the creatures was their goal, not eating them.  Our innate belief is that we should not eat anything that our mothers did not feed us.  To go against that belief is a giant leap for most people.
            Entomophagy is the practice of eating bugs for their nutritional value.  Insects are a readily available, natural source of carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, omega-3s, and vitamins.  As the world population approaches eight billion people, scientists say that there will be little choice but to use insects to stop starvation.
           The United Nations is promoting a campaign to make this cultural shift happen. The International Society of Sports Nutrition is enthusiastic about the use of insect protein products to enrich the food of athletes.  Bodybuilders are often on the leading edge of progressive nutritional trends, and if people see them consuming insect protein supplements, the tide might turn.
One way to assist people in rising above the disgust factor is to make them believe that the food has a high status by labeling it a delicacy and charging more for it.  Lobster was once plentiful along the eastern coast of the U.S. and Canada, but it was considered a poor man’s food.  Today lobsters are the most expensive item on the menu.
Pound for pound insects have a greater concentration of life sustaining protein and other nutrients than chicken, pork, or beef.  Insects also contain less saturated fat and their production is more environmentally friendly than other meats.
           What if you are stuck on an island and the only food includes bugs?  Which ones would you choose?  It is best to avoid the brightly colored ones, but there will be plenty to select from since there are fifteen orders of edible insects.  They include lice, grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, bees, ants, flies, mosquitoes, dragonflies, and termites.
Get your frying pan out and give them a try!
(Source: www.theblaze.com)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Over the Rainbow

The path of a tornado is one scary place to be
By: Judi Stuart
Port Discover: Visitor Services Manager
Dorothy was determined to get home after being displaced by a tornado, but there is nothing fictitious about the recent storms that have ravaged our area. The terror is very real, and unfortunately, it continues.
Psychologists say that humans are most frightened when they are not able to control their surroundings.
Tornadoes are events that strike at the heart of that fear. If we become victims, we must pick-up the pieces and carry on with a lot of help from our friends, family, and community.
We are fortunate that, comparatively speaking, the Albemarle has a low risk of seeing the most powerful storms. The United States has approximately 1,000 tornadoes touch down every year which is more than any other country. Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Nebraska are known as tornado alley because of the regularity of the storms which strike them each spring.
In 1992, Elizabeth City was struck by an F-3 storm which devastated the Edgewood area. The twister then picked up a school bus and threw it 75 yards into a field on Halstead Boulevard.
There were 44 injuries, but no deaths, in the surrounding area from that storm. As we always say, it could have been much worse. Elizabeth City has had three F-3 tornadoes in recorded history and many rated F-1 and F-2 storms.
It may seem that we are seeing more storms, and some people wonder if it is caused by global warming, climate change, or increasingly unstable atmospheric conditions. Heat and pressure drive our weather patterns, and we know that tornadoes come from thunderstorms in a wind shear environment.
These types of conditions occur east of the Rocky Mountains more than anywhere else in the world.
Storms are born when warm moist air at low levels meets with drier air aloft causing extreme instability in the atmosphere. A tornado is a rapidly spinning tube of air that goes from the ground to the cloud above it. As it moves, it picks up dirt and debris. Most tornadoes produce winds that are less than 100 miles per hour, but some can attain wind speeds of over 300 miles per hour.
The country of Bangladesh experienced the deadliest tornado ever recorded in 1989 when 1300 people died. In 1925, the Tri-State Tornado which traveled through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana left destruction across 219 miles and killed 695 people and became the deadliest U.S. storm.
Scientists are studying the patterns of low temperatures like we saw last winter and their interaction with higher temperatures possibly caused by increased greenhouse gases. Any improvement in the ability to predict storms will result in better preparation and less loss of life and property.
Your best defense is to stay alert, have a personal plan of action, and become educated about how to protect yourself. For example, wearing some sort of helmet when you take cover is now recommended. Unlike Dorothy, we must deal with our reality without magic.
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