The UN highly recommends the chewy insect, and edible bugs in general.
“Farming insects for human and animal consumption is particularly relevant at a time when population growth, urbanization, and the rising middle class have increased the demand for food while simultaneously harming the environment that enables its production,” says a release from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization.
According to the FAO, insects are much more efficient than cattle at converting feed into edible meat. The latter must ingest eight kilograms of grub in order to produce a kilo of meat, while insects, on average, need two. Factor in the nine billion people who will need to be fed by 2030, as well as the stress the planet is currently under (pat yourselves on the back, people of Earth, you just hit 400 CO2 parts per million), and eating bugs makes a lot of sense.
Not that that’s ever going to happen in Canada.
Culture dictates what is normal, and what’s normal for Westerners is eating big mammals. According to the FAO, our diet dates back to the beginnings of plant and animal production in the Fertile Crescent. Later, in Europe, large terrestrial mammals were domesticated and farmed for their meat, fur, leather, and milk products.
Meanwhile, in the tropics, insects were abundant and grew scary big. Which is why, according to the UN, some two billion people continue to chow down on them to this day. No doubt they’re relieved to now have the UN’s food stamp of approval.
But no matter how much conventional meat costs, no matter what the environmental impact of pig, cow, and chicken farming, not to mention the health issues around eating meat, it’s going to be a long time before you see North Americans biting into a juicy cicada, except maybe on a re-run of “Fear Factor.” Hamburgers will have to go extinct before that happens.
Save the world? Reduce our cholesterol? Sure — just so long as we don’t have to give up our Quarter Pounders.
Still, I don’t see why some crispy grasshoppers in a zesty ginger-lime glaze couldn’t be quite satisfying, and so I have created the recipe following, just for readers of BoB:
Suggested recipe: Grasshoppers in ginger-lime glaze
1 big ol’ pile of hoppers (preferably organic – those things get sprayed a lot)
Ginger lime glaze
Sautè grasshoppers in extra virgin olive oil until shells begin to crack open. Pour glaze over grasshoppers until they are fully coated.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Tastes like: Grasshoppers, probably. To find out what grasshoppers taste like, ask your cat.
Note: This recipe has not been taste-tested. I live in Canada after all.