Why not eat insects?

Marcel Dicke asks us in this entertaining lecture, Why not eat insects? Good question. In fact, as he says, we’re already eating insects and we’re going to have to eat more of them. The posh word for eating insects is entomophagy.

My fellow bloggers at Insect Europe agree about entomophagy. But they seem too quiet – I’m only their second follower! Stateside, Daniella Martin blogs at Girl Meets Bug and she writes a column about it in the Huffington Post. In Australia, Chris Forbes-Ewan at The Conversation tells us that many insects are tasty and nutritious.

I’ve already told you how the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that entomophagy is part of our present and our future. We should eat insects, farm them, hunt them and feed them to other livestock. In the Wall Street Journal, Prof Dicke and Arnold van Huis call insects ‘The Six-Legged Meat of the Future’. They tell us that insects ‘have a nice nutty taste’ and show us a deeply solemn chart of insect meat joints. My favourite is the ‘hind pointy thing: jerky’ 😉 To help us in the rich world past our cultural reluctance, ‘The first insect fare is likely to be incorporated subtly into dishes, as a replacement for meat in meatballs and sauces. It also can be mixed into prepared foods to boost their nutritional value—like putting mealworm paste into a quiche. And dry-roasted insects can be used as a replacement for nuts in baked goods like cookies and breads.’

In Entomological Research, Alan Yen calls for a change in attitude in westernized societies towards entomophagy, leading to ‘sustainable production systems that include food safety and security as well as environmental protection’.

Where are the attractive insect bites in Britain? I’m thinking of skewered crickets with garlic butter, pate of caterpillars… When I get chance, I’ll eat them and tell you.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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