IU South Bend News Room

Bizarre Food – Food for Thought

Posted on: June 20th, 2014 by

Bizarre Food


From the point of view of most Hoosiers, eating a bug isn’t appetizing. It is most likely a mistake when a bug flies in your mouth.  For other cultures, insects are part of a normal diet and not a mistake at all.

Bizarre foods – it all depends on your perspective.

Students from Sheena Ketchum’s Anthropology A385 Bizarre Foods class had a Thursday noontime presentation on bugs, cannibalism, aphrodisiacs and McDonalds. Bizarre in their own ways.

Ketchum said bizarre foods are culturally based.

Nick Massa of Elkhart, Gladys Dimowa of Mishawaka and Lukas Chapman of South Bend gathered their information about insects and solving world hunger. About 80 percent of the world population incorporates insects into the diet, Massa said.

“From the sustainability aspect, insects are a viable alternative to cattle or other livestock. There is less space needed to raise the insects and there is less of an environmental impact. And nutritionally, the insects are better for you – more trace minerals, more protein and more good fats,” Massa said.


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Chapman added that insects are being eaten less in some cultures because of the western influence. The west is dictating that it is not normal to eat things that crawl. Other cultures are fighting this trend in meat eating by returning to their roots of eating insects.


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Dimowa said her research was into the nutritional aspect of insects and how others cultures regard it as unusual. “In Africa it is regarded as the norm to gather the insects that are in season to feed the family for the rest of the year.”

Another group studied sex and food; and how the media makes food sexy through advertising.  Yet another group looked at cannibalism in some cultures and how it is used as part of justice system or grieving to eat the dead.

And yet another group looked at McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S., Japan and France. Jessica Kolecki of South Bend and Bronson Bontrager of Goshen said the fast food chain uses higher quality of food in France. In Japan, the food portions are much smaller.

“For Americans, McDonald’s is a convenience; pick it up and go. Americans want a lot of food. It is a bizarre food because there are changes in the product from country to country,” Bontrager said.


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