Food for thought

by Shana on Aug. 03rd, 2010

Yum!: Roasted crickets at a market in Mexico.
Yum!: Roasted crickets at a market in Mexico.Courtesy Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan

You may think that eating live cockroaches is a bad idea, but the UN Food and Agriculture Organization thinks that eating insects may address a bevy of problems, such as poor nutrition in developing nations and the high greenhouse gas output from raising livestock for meat. Raising insects produces far less greenhouse gases and the insects provide essential proteins and nutrients, filling a similar role in the diet to meat. While people all over the world already eat insects, the critters may be hard to swallow in squeamish western countries where the practice is rare.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Karen's picture
Karen says:

Maybe we should ask Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods and Twin Cities native) to come to the Science Museum and do a demonstration eating.Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects
Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating InsectsCourtesy

posted on Tue, 08/03/2010 - 11:32am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I've eaten a small assortment of insects and arthropods and their ilk, to win bets, and to prove how manly I am. (Because, apparently, one of the things real men do is eat animals that are both tiny and harmless.)

I'm pretty sure they were all alive at the time of the eating, which made the experience a lot less fun for everything involved. The thing is, we generally don't eat other animals raw (much less alive), so I think properly prepared insects aren't such a gross idea. My parents tried roasted grasshoppers when they were in Oaxaca, Mexico, and according to them they pretty much tasted like roasted nothing, with whatever spices were added on top—which sounds like a pretty normal American snack food. (Only grasshopper shaped.)

Also, when you think about it, we already eat some pretty creepy creatures, and we love them. I mean, just look closely at a shrimp...

posted on Thu, 08/05/2010 - 10:37am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

It's not that Westerners are squeamish. Rather, we, like many other cultures, domesticated farm animals, which are a much richer, more convenient and more efficient source of protein. We shunned insects as a poor protein source (and because of their association with dirt and disease). Other cultures not fortunate enough to have domesticable animals eat insects and other small animals as they have few other options. From there, eating or non-eating of specific foods becomes a cultural more, the most efficient means of survival in a given environment, and not really a value judgment. While not a hard-and-fast rule (little in anthropology is), this is a general trend seen world wide.

posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 11:35pm
Jasmine 's picture
Jasmine says:

I never really knew that insects were an option for people to eat. I would like to know what it would taste like to eat a plain insect.

posted on Fri, 09/17/2010 - 12:55pm

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