Why Don’t We Eat Bugs?

They’re abundant, cheap, full of protein, and enthusiasts say they’re darn tasty

The Perennial Plate Episode 78: Eating Insects from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

We opened a bit of a Pandora’s box yesterday with Bill Esparza’s post about munching on stewed grasshoppers (a traditional Oaxacan dish) at Guelaguetza, followed by my own post discussing the recent European scandal that’s exposed horse (and potentially donkey) meat mixed into ground beef

Reactions were varied, but “Ewwwww!’ to both is fairly typical. But it begs the question: why do we eat what we eat? Yes, it’s largely a product of social norms, environment, and upbringing, but I wanted to share this excellent video I got to watch at last year’s Edible Institute in Santa Barbara. 

David Gracer, an expert in entomophagy (bug eating), delivers a fairly compelling case for grubbing on grubs, highlighting their abundance, the ease with which they can be harvested, their exceptional protein content, and as he’s glad to attest, their pleasant flavor and crunch. He also thinks that we’re going to have to move toward eating insects sooner or later, but warns that it won’t see “widespread adoption until we desperately need it.”

He also compares a pretty scary looking variety of walking stick with a lobster. When doing presentations for kids, he likes to ask them if which multi-legged, hard-shelled creature they’d rather eat: the one that munches on flowers on leaves, or the one that eats feces and garbage at the bottom of the ocean. (He readily admits that lobster is delicious, even if it is the proverbial cockroach of the sea.)

If you’ve got eight minutes, it’s definitely worth a watch. Interesting to be sure.