Old emails sleep in my “to blog” folder, awaiting a gentle shoulder shake and a reason to wake up and chat. This week, that nudge came from Jo Borrás at our sister site, Insteading, who wrote a review of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook. Really. He did. I don’t think he really eats bugs, but it’s important to know how to prep them if you must survive on them one day. Thanks Jo.
In addition to entertaining me, Jo’s review reminded me of a mid-May email (which I had smartly moved to my “to blog” folder) from Grist. Apparently, the U.N. thinks we should eat bugs too. (Not sure why I saved this email. It’s not like I eat bugs.) But the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) just published a 187-page research report explaining the U.N.’s perspective.
After being inspired by Jo’s post and doing a bit of reading, I thought I’d share some revelations that might bug you. (I know.) Culinarily curious? Read on, and let us know if you’re in.
Why eat bugs?
- A lot of people do it. Insects are a significant component of the traditional diets of about 2 million people worldwide. Animals like them too.
- Bugs are chock-full of nutrition. While nutrition values vary bug to bug, in general, edible insects have high protein, fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Mealworms can compete head-to-head with fish in unsaturated omega-3 and -6 fatty acid benefits. Good to know.
- They’re plentiful. Edible insects thrive broadly on beaches and prairies, in forests and farms. While food insecurity surrounds us, abundant food value exists in the form of delicious bugs.
- Raising or collecting insects can secure a family’s livelihood. While raising insects for food is a relatively new practice, it’s improving lives in some areas. From the report: “In developing countries, some of the poorest members of society, such as women and landless dwellers in urban and rural areas, can easily become involved in the gathering, cultivation, processing and sale of insects.”
- By 2050, the world will need more food. Current food production levels will have to double to support the 9 billion people expected to populate the earth in less than 40 years. Could bugs be part of the solution?
Would you do it?
The FAO’s report states very clearly: “Entomophagy is heavily influenced by cultural and religious practices, and insects are commonly consumed as a food source in many regions of the world. In most Western countries, however, people view entomophagy with disgust and associate eating insects with primitive behaviour.” I get that. But it’s interesting to consider this food alternative.
If you check out Jo’s cookbook review and “Sheesh! Kabob” recipe from The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, you might have a second thought. Would you eat bugs to survive?
(“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup” joke withheld despite my almost unquenchable drive to share it.)
Image Credit: Cooking with Bugs via Shutterstock