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The rot-weevil is a 10cm long flightless beetle (though not truly a weevil). It eats a wide variety of food, most of which is obtained from civilised settlements. If people wished to trap and sell this creature as food, what would they have to do the meat in order to disguise its insectoid origin, and make it appear like mammalian (or at least tetrapodal) meat?

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    $\begingroup$ What does the word "meat" mean specifically? Do they kill the insects individually and very carefully dissect them to extract the muscles attached to the inside of the exoskeleton? Or else they just grind them into a fatty and nutritious mass? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 28 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ I've made bread from insects ground into a fine power instead of flour. And I've made stew (jambalaya) from whole crickets. Hesitancy to eat insects is cultural rather than innate, and fades quickly when folks are hungry, so I don't see a real need to hide the insectoid origin. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jul 28 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ Ground and reconstituted meat, bologna style. What do you think the McRib is made of? $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jul 28 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ From what I hear, a Subway's tuna fish sandwich has to be a leading candidate $\endgroup$ Jul 28 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ The trick is in how you cut the meat. You need to take big long careful slices with a filet knife so that they can be mistaken for bone-in ribeyes (beef). Now, you can't use too much seasoning (because they'd know you were trying to hide the fact it was cricket), so just salt, pepper, and maybe a bit of butter. Grill to perfection. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Jul 28 at 20:43
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Burger patties

Grind em up, mash em into patties. It's actually being tried in real life.

A supermarket chain in Switzerland will start selling edible bugs in the form of burgers.

...

Created by Swiss startup Essento, the burgers are made with mealworms, rice and vegetables, and flavored with oregano and chili. The insect balls are made with mealworms, chickpeas, onions and garlic.

For a more traditional example, see the "Kunga cake", an African dish made from swarms of midges or flies.

Kunga cake or kungu is an East African food made of millions of densely compressed midges or flies. In his entomophagy book "Insects: An Edible Field Guide", Stefan Gates suggest that people can "make burgers with it, or dry it out and grate parts of it off into stews" for "umami richness". Bear Grylls calls it "a great survival food" and describes how vast quantities are caught and turned into kunga cake. American entomologist May Berenbaum discusses the situation where large swarms of midges can cause significant problems for local populations. She cites an example of how Chaoborus edulis swarms form near Lake Malawi and how the local people turn them into kunga cakes as a "rich source of protein" which is eaten "with great enthusiasm". Explorer David Livingstone (1865) claimed that they "tasted not unlike caviare" though Professor of Tropical Entomology Arnold van Huis declared that he did not like it at all.

To catch the flies a frying pan can be coated in cooking oil and then wafted through a swarm.

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    $\begingroup$ "Prawn" burgers. The grinding disguises the recognizable parts (beetle legs, elytrae, etc.). The prawn kayfabe excuses the minor bits of chitin that get stuck in your teeth. And as an added bonus, shellfish meat is generally regarded as desirable---enough so that fish meat is seasoned and disguised as imitation crab sticks in RL, to get a better price. $\endgroup$
    – Ralf B
    Jul 30 at 9:58
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Don't disguise it, just make it taste good to your audience

Crawfish, Lobster, and Crab are all very delicious and creepy looking "bugs" that tons of people have no issue eating with absolutely zero effort spent to hide what it is. In many places, these meats are actually more expensive than red meat anyway; so, it is better to not hide what it is. The thing is that you can not make bugs taste like a passable red meat. The same things you do to make steak taste savory and tender, will make crawfish become rubbery and conflict with their natural flavor... but when you boil crawfish in a mixture of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, lemon, and salt †, it becomes tender, and takes on a new flavor that works with it's natural flavor (which many people find tastes rotten on its own). So, through proper preparation, people quickly lose any aversion they may have to the strangeness of the animal.

So, if you want people to eat rot-weevils... first, just stop calling them that. It's like how crawfish are also called mudbugs, but not when you are eating them. So instead, you market the rot-weevils as something more pleasant sounding like chicken-critters. Next, find a way to cook them that is good to the culture you are trying to appeal to. It might take a few decades for chicken-critters to become mainstream, but once they are, it will be much harder to get people to stop eating them than it was to get them to start.

Lastly, as pointed out in comments, you should be careful about hiding what kind of meat people are eating for safety reasons. If chicken-critters can cause allergic reactions the same way that shellfish do, then marketing them as something else could kill people who would otherwise know to avoid this kind of meat.

This exact recipe may or may not be un-appealing to a medieval European pallet. In the late medieval period, most of these spices were commonly consumed by the bourgeoisie and nobility, but Cayenne pepper and paprika were not available yet as these are native to North America. These could be substituted with peppercorn for a very similar flavor profile, or you could go for a completely different recipe all together. From a worldbuilding perspective: what tastes good is only defined by what you say tastes good to the people you are writing about.

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    $\begingroup$ Another important reason that the querent wouldn't want to disguise insect meat is that insects contain some of the same proteins as shellfish and can therefore trigger shellfish allergies. (e.g. brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/…) Giving customers unexpected allergic reactions or even anaphylactic shock is a sure way to go out of business fast. $\endgroup$ Jul 29 at 4:15
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisH Your article explains that pollen allergies were not well understood until 150 years ago (people just thought they were colds... which they also did not understand), but says that food allergies have been generally known about for thousands of years. "what is food to one man is bitter poison to others." ~Lucretius (99–55 BCE) $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jul 29 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisH The food allergies of historical medieval figures are recorded proving that food allergies were known about. King John Lackland was allergic to peaches, King Richard III was allergic to strawberries, etc. Many lords also had personal physicians who took great care to record every meal their lord would eat to monitor the health of their masters in regards to what foods they ate. The two biggest reasons for these food logs was to identify honey's disease (diabetes) and allergies. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jul 29 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ It's not untrue. You belong to a (micro)culture that believes this to be the case... so they "taste horrible". You'd probably also object to eating raw/alive maggots and grubs, though there are people in the world who wouldn't, and think they taste "great". $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Jul 29 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnO There are cultural concerns, and individual variance too, I'm not arguing against these. I am arguing against you being unable to make food taste good to someone by changing how it is prepared. Even things that tastes putrid or that you have developed a taste aversion to, can be changed to taste good to you. How you cook (or don't cook) a thing changes its flavor and texture a lot. Maybe your medieval people don't like their bugs 1 way, that's fine, just prepare them another way instead. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jul 29 at 16:36
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Sausage.

The Jungle is now remembered for how Sinclair advocated for worker's rights. But the most memorable parts for me were the parts describing how sausage was made.

THE JUNGLE -- Upton Sinclair http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/SINCLAIR/ch14.html

There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white--it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and no joke; the meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one-- there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit...

Yeah your bugs are sounding pretty good now. Bug meat sausage is the way to go. Mix it with the other meat you have handy, spice, maybe some borax and gelatin and ... delicious sausage!

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    $\begingroup$ inna-bun of course $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Jul 29 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisH, if there's rat you want it on a stick $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Jul 30 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix of course. Get them while they're dead! $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Jul 30 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ I had some crawfish sausage last night to experiment with this theory. I think if I did not know it had bug meat in it, I would not have questioned it, but it should also be noted that the main ingredient was actually pork, not crawfish, which underlines the importance of "Mix it with the other meat you have handy". $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Aug 3 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki - the tragic thing is that I bet you paid extra for the word "crawfish" on the label. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 3 at 14:10
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Bug... the new white meat!

Actually the easiest solution would be to make a protein-rich soup and strain out all the recognizable bits.

Just make sure to season it well. Think about hot dogs. If it is convenient and tastes good, most people won't care what it is made of.

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    $\begingroup$ Since you bring up hot dogs, it springs to mind that Asian fish-based recipes like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamaboko or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_ball might work well with insect meat as its base instead. $\endgroup$ Jul 29 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ Soylent Green - If it is convenient and tastes good, most people won't care what it is made of. ! $\endgroup$
    – Glen Yates
    Jul 29 at 20:11
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Grind it into powder, Bake it into bread

You can make bread, pasta, and more out of insects, and nobody would think to question it.

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Branding makes it Better

Some examples from a quick google search:

  • Toothfish (aka "Chilean sea bass")
  • Mud crabs (aka "peekytoe crab")
  • Slimehead (aka "orange roughy")

Brand it something like "fresh water lobster" or "land lobster"

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  • $\begingroup$ Yea, I found out that all these new entrees on menus were because we had basically overfished the traditional species and these weird ones are the only thing that's left. Just a little PR handwaving and violá, "market price seafood". Most people have never seen the actual fish so don't much care how ugly it is when eating it. $\endgroup$
    – coblr
    Jul 30 at 19:57
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Meat pies

Meat pies were very popular in the Middle Ages, partly because they kept well, and partly because all sorts of leftovers could be ground into them, much as into frankfurters today. And they were sold ready-to-eat out of stalls, in retail, while most other meat was bought raw and cooked at home. The ideal way to disguise and market insect meat, in the medieval milieu.

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Marketing. People can eat anything as long as it is believed to enhances your 'performance'. This is sadly one reason many animals are getting extincted...

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This seems more of a cookery question than a worldbuilding question.

Seeing as your question is tagged medieval-europe, I suppose that's your setting. A lot of stews were eaten then. The insects could be ground and added to the stew. Sausage, as someone mentioned, is also a great idea.

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