+
upworthy
Science

This bug tastes like bacon, saves lemurs and could help end starvation in Madagascar

Bacon bugs. It's what's for dinner. Tonight.

bacon bugs madagascar

Sakondry are saviors for this furry guy.

The sakondry bugs of Madagascar are pulling off quite a feat: helping to thwart starvation, relieving biodiversity loss and saving lemurs. All while tasting like delicious bacon.

These small cricket-like insects have long been a well-loved snack for locals. Pro tip: Find the youngest ones (those are said to be the tastiest), give them a quick wash, pinch off the heads then toss them in a pan with some water and salt, and voila … a crispy, crunchy savory morsel.

“They’re quite soft when they’ve been fried … Like a nutty bacon,” Lewis Kramer, a conservation research coordinator, told Metro.co.uk.

“I would happily have a bowl of them with a beer,” he joked.

Nutritionally speaking, however, the sakondry are much more than a snack. They might as well be singing Lizzo’s “Juice” ‘cause baby, they’re the whole damn meal.

Insects generally tend to provide a viable protein, fat and mineral source, all while requiring less land, water and feed than meat.

These facts are more crucial than ever, as around 1.64 million people in Madagascar are enduring an undeniable food crisis. Horrifically destructive tropical storms and relentless droughts—which the UN directly links to climate change—have led to desperate measures. Metro.co.uk reported that people were forced to eat ash mixed with tamarind and leather from shoes to temporarily stave off hunger.

As a last resort, some villages have taken to hunting forest animals, including the already heavily endangered lemur. With nearly 94% of the species threatened with extinction, this is hardly a sustainable option.

But U.K.-based organization SEED Madagascar aims to address these issues with a novel solution: a bacon bug farm.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Created by anthropologist Dr. Cortni Borgerson, the program helps communities plant and grow the bean plants known to locals as tsidimy (also edible, so win-win). The tsidimy will attract colonies of sakonry after only six to eight weeks. Those colonies can then be harvested about a month later.


Knowing that a love for card playing is part Malagasy culture, Borgerson created a deck of cards to act as a creative user manual the farmers can refer to for best practices and troubleshooting. The deck includes everything from how to care for tsidimy seedlings to how to differentiate between male and female sakondry.

In only one year, these farms have raised more than 90,000 harvest-sized sakondry, which provided the annual protein equivalent of 2,700 eggs. Borgerson told Mongabay News that the program has also saved 25-50 lemurs per community each year.

As delicious and nutritious and sustainable as they are, the sakondry remain quite mysterious. But while research is still being conducted, these little bacon bugs are becoming a part of a well-balanced diet (and ecosystem) for Madagascar.

Now … who’s ready for an S.L.T.? Sakondry, lettuce and tomato sandwich, that is. Or perhaps some eggs with a side of sakondry? A maple sakondry donut, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

How often should you wash your jeans?

Social media has become a fertile breeding ground for conversations about hygiene. Whether it’s celebrities bragging about how little their family bathes or battles over how often people should wash their sheets or bras.

One of the debates that gets the most diverse responses is how often people wash their denim jeans.

Denim atelier Benjamin Talley Smith tells Today that jeans should be washed "as little as possible, if at all.” Laundry expert Patric Richardson adds they should be cleaned “after nine or 10 wearings, like to me, that is the ideal." At that point, they probably have stains and are "a little sweaty by that point, so you need to wash 'em," Richardson says.

Still, some people wash and dry them after every wear while others will hand wash and never hang dry. With all these significant differences of opinion, there must be a correct answer somewhere, right?

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

Woman's rare antique turned away from 'Antique Roadshow' for beautiful heart-wrenching reason

"I just love you for bringing it in and thank you so much for making me so sad."

Photos by Murat Rahim Caglak and Antoni Shkraba via Canva

Woman's antique turned away from 'Antique Roadshow'

People come by things in all sorts of ways. Sometimes you find something while at a garage sale and sometimes it's because a family member passed away and it was left to them. After coming into possession of the item, the owner may be tempted to see how much it's worth so it can be documented for insurance purposes or sold.

On a recent episode of BBC One's Antique Roadshow, a woman brought an ivory bracelet to be appraised. Interestingly enough, the expert didn't meet this rare find with excitement, but appeared somber. The antique expert, Ronnie Archer-Morgan carefully explains the purpose of the bracelet in what appears to be a tense emotional exchange.

There would be no appraisal of this antique ivory bracelet adorned with beautiful script around the circumference. Archer-Morgan gives a brief disclaimer that he and the Antique Roadshow disapprove of the trade of ivory, though that was not his reason for refusing the ivory bangle.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kayleigh Donahue explains the differences between the U.S. and Europe.

American-born TikTok user Kayleigh Donahue is going viral on the platform because of her unflinching take on why it was a mistake for her to move back to the U.S. after spending 4 years in Ireland.

She now lives in the Boston area.

Kayleigh moved back to the U.S. from Ireland to make more money, but that didn’t go as planned. Even though she got paid more, the cost of living was so much higher that she saved less money than she did in Ireland. She also missed the generous number of vacation days she got in Europe as compared to America.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

The amount of money Americans budgeted for food 100 years ago is mind-boggling

If we think our grocery bills are high now, it's nothing compared to what families spent in the early 1900s.

Even if we shop at the most expensive stores, we still don't spend as much of our income on food as they did in 1901.

As inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in the summer of 2022, Americans keenly felt it at the grocery check-out. It seemed as if prices had gone up on everything, and our food budgets took a hit. Even though inflation has eased since then, many of us are still lamenting the amount we're spending on groceries and dining out every month.

A New York Post headline ominously pronounced in February 2024 that "Americans have not spent this much of their incomes on food since the Gulf War," citing a federal statistic that U.S.consumers spent 11.3% of their disposable income on food—a higher percentage than we've seen in the past 30 years.

But as they say, it's all relative. While we balk at spending 11% of our income on food, families in the early 1900s would have been thrilled at spending that little on food.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Matt Damon shared the wildest story about his rescued 'jungle cat' from Costa Rica

"At no point in this story did I have any idea what would happen next," one viewer wrote.

@colbertlateshow/TikTok, Canva

The cat distribution system reaches even the depth of the jungle.

The cat distribution system always works. Even for celebrities. Just ask Matt Damon.

While appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the “Jason Bourne” actor shared the wildest story about a stray cat he had adopted 10 years ago during a month-long stay at an Airbnb in Costa Rica.

After hearing him describe this next level kitty, you’ll understand why he describes him as “the coolest cat you’ve ever seen.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

‘Against their beliefs’: Parents won't let daughter go to boy’s Taylor Swift birthday party

“Like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’”

via Jolene Dolo (used with permission)

Popular TikTokker Jolene Dolo.

A TikTok video by the mother of a gender non-conforming son is a masterclass in refusing to be baited into a confrontation, no matter how tempting it may be. It all started when TikTokker Jolene Dolo’s 8-year-old son, Sam, sent out invitations to his Taylor Swift-themed birthday party.

Jolene told Upworthy that Sam doesn’t have a favorite Swift song, but his favorite album is “Lovers.”

“My 8-year-old Sam is having a Taylor Swift birthday party, and yesterday I received a text message from a parent of a child who was invited letting us know that their child will not be attending because it is against their beliefs,” Jolene began.

“I'm not exactly sure what belief system you have, like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’” she continued.

Keep ReadingShow less