Locust trouble? Why not turn them into supper?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am

As parts of Australia struggle to deal with the worst locust plague in 30 years, a new cookbook has this advice for rural inhabitants: if you can't beat them, eat them.

Cooking with Sky Prawns is the work of a pair of government agricultural officers in New South Wales and contains more than 20 locust recipes, including starters, main courses and desserts.

Renaming locusts 'sky prawns', they hope, will make the pests more acceptable to Australian palates. Dishes include locust dumplings, chocolate-covered locusts and locust-flavoured popcorn.

New South Wales is facing the worst locust plague in a generation, with billions of the insects taking to the sky after their natural predators were severely depleted by continuing drought.

Co-author Edward Joshua admits he may have an uphill battle persuading Australians to develop a taste for locusts. 'The looks I get from people when I tell them they should eat insects suggest that locusts don't have a great future in Australian cuisine,' he said.

'But if you've ever eaten a lobster, crab or crayfish, you've eaten members of the class Arthropoda, of which insects are a part. So popping a big, juicy locust in your mouth is only a step away.'