THE RISE OF THE INCREDIBLE EDIBLE INSECT
“The urge to do something to save a dying planet coincides with a very adventurous time in eating,” says entomological entrepreneur Julia Plevin.
The global population, now at more than 7 billion, may grow to 9 billion by 2050. Already, nearly 1 billion people regularly go hungry. Insects–a source of protein that requires a fraction of the land, water, and feed as livestock–could help alleviate the looming crisis. “The case needs to be made to consumers that eating insects is not only good for their health, it is good for the planet,” the authors wrote. Knops and Plevin figured that while cricket-based bitters might not solve the food problem, the product could help overcome a psychological one. “People are more open to trying new things when there are cocktails involved,” Plevin says.
The Thai love fried locusts. South Africans munch on caterpillars. At least 2 billion people worldwide regularly eat insects, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Nutritionally, they are hard to beat: Insects are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and “good” fats. More than 2,000 species have reportedly been used as food–and with a million insect species and counting, more are sure to be found.
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I once smashed a black cricket who had taken up noisy residence at my hearth, and before I could find something to pick up the carcass with, a scenario from a horror film unfolded before my eyes. Returning to what I assumed was a dead bug, I detected a waving or some sort of antennae-like appendage coming from the corpse. At first I thought the cricket wasn’t dead yet, but, as I watched, the moving “thing” got longer. Then, I noticed there were two “things” emerging from the poor, dead or dying insect; one was black and the other lighter in color but both were long and slender and writhed horrifically like the alien from its host in the movie of the same name. I could do nothing but spectate as the scene unfolded. They both escaped fully from their previously living home and I recognized them: Horse Hair Worms! I had recently seen one wriggling around in a small, runoff creek not far from my house. The deceased cricket had been dying anyway, it seemed, and all I did was put it out of its misery. Poor thing, I’m going to have a hard time not thinking about that one when I venture into the culinary world of fried cricket eating.
Great intro to a fascinating article, Stan.
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