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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Larvae the larval forms of insects, but also of certain other creatures which undergo the process of metamorphosis in reaching the adult form. Thus there are larvae of certain fish and crustaceans. However, it is the larvae of insects which are important as human food (where insects are acceptable in the diet—see insects as food). Of the innumerable examples which could be cited, the most striking is perhaps that quoted by Bodenheimer (1951) from Bristowe (1932). The latter relates how a certain tribe in Thailand, near the Burmese border, would shoot a long-tailed monkey, gut it, stuff it with makrut lime leaves and other herbs, sew it up, smear it with a paste from the inside of a termite heap, and hang it up from a tree. After a supposedly delicious ‘monkey sauce’ has slowly dripped from the corpse into a bowl below, accompanied by some small ‘maggots’, the corpse is opened and a few large larvae (belonging to some species of beetle) are found within. Each of these is placed inside a specially treated coconut, and the hole made for this purpose is stopped up with termite paste once the larva is inside. Three weeks later the coconut is split open and a white grub (i.e. larva), ‘the size of a tangerine, is found practically filling the interior of the coconut’.