The other other meat

I read an article this week about entomophagy -- eating bugs. Apparently, 80% of the world's peoples eat insects, Western Europe and North America being the main holdouts. Bugs are nutritious -- full of protein and other essential nutrients. Bugs are versatile -- you can fry them in butter, you can grind them into flour, you can dip them in chocolate, you can make them into a BeeLT sandwich (really). Bugs are, according to sources in this article, delicious, reportedly tasting like shrimp (which are also bugs, only from the sea), chicken, bacon, or scrambled eggs. Bugs are, importantly, sustainable -- farming bugs results in a very small carbon footprint; they're already numerous; there are no worries about humane treatment because bugs like crowded conditions and filth.

Ironically, many countries where eating bugs has been the norm for centuries are now planting "Western" crops such as corn and wheat, which are arguably less nutritious and digestible than insects, and using pesticides to kill those insects. Some people in these countries are falling ill to new diseases; the bugs they used to eat provided protection against endemic bacteria, or nutrients that were otherwise lacking in the native diet.

The only problem with bugs is their size. Ounce for ounce, a grasshopper has more protein than beef or chicken. However, you'd have to eat one thousand grasshoppers to match the calories of a 12oz steak. (Can you imagine? I'd have to prepare four thousand grasshoppers for dinner. Or maybe my kids would only be able to eat 750 a piece.)

The article concluded that insects are the meat of the future. I am all for sustainability and certainly things need to be done to curb world hunger and whatnot. But I would be more than happy if this innovation in food doesn't come to pass until I'm dead and gone. I'd rather be a meal for worms than make a meal of worms.


Chris said...

I don't care how sensible it is; I ain't eatin' bugs. Ever. And I have a feeling our kids won't either....hell, our kids won't even eat steak.

aimee said...

Yeah, can you imagine trying to get our kids to eat bugs? "c'mon, eat just two more beetles and then you can have chocolate-covered grasshoppers for dessert!"