Beetle Juice

Shellac Flakes. Don’t say Beetle Juice Three Times in a Row.

Most people don’t know that they eat one of the main ingredients in one of the best wood finishes regularly, and that it comes from a bug, but that doesn’t bother me that much. Like my man HD Thoreau, “Yet, for my part, I was never usually squeamish; I could sometimes eat a fried rat with a good relish, if it were necessary.” It all depends on how good the relish is.

The wood finish I am referring to is shellac, which is essentially the secretions of the Asian Lac beetle, dissolved in denatured alcohol. There are a thousand recipes for proportions to be used, and I would refer you to Shellac.com. They also list eight main colors of shellac flakes, though most of those shades can be made with just these three.

People who eat sweets are the main ones who are likely to be eating beetle juice. US manufacturers of sweets use all manner of euphemisms for bug juice, such as confectioner’s glaze or candy glaze. It’s really bug juice, but people like to eat things that are bright and shiny. Why, I don’t know.

Also check for Natural Red #4 on the ingredient list. That’s squashed Cochineal bugs, which get the red color from cactus. The Aztecs used them for red dye.

Bugs. It’s what’s for dinner. And the dinner table.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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