the practice of eating insects
On May 8th, I attended a special viewing of the film “Bugs” at the Ruth Sokolof Theater in downtown Omaha. I call it a special viewing, because immediately after the show, there was a question and answer session with Kelly Sturek and Julianne Kopf of Bugeater Foods and Dr. Jody Green of the University of Nebraska Lancaster County Extension. This was part of the theater’s Science On Screen, an innovative series that creatively pairs classic, cult, and documentary films with lively talks led by notable figures from the world of science, technology, and medicine.
I’d actually saw the documentary on Netflix a few months ago, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to hang out with some “bug” folks.
I must admit, sitting in a dark theater and away from the distractions of home, I caught a few details I missed in my original viewing. For that reason alone, the outing was worth the price of admission.
One line I missed in my original viewing of the documentary was a comment made by Josh Evans.
I mean, to be honest, after traveling the world eating insects everywhere, I think all the farmed insects lack flavor. All of this has been more an exercise in how we can slip them into cooking rather than how we can utilize their characteristics.
I think that statement may hold true for the next few decades – at least in the developed world. Sure some cultures have eaten bugs for hundreds of years, but I’m sure many did so out of necessity.
In the United States, we’ve seen advancements in Hydroponic Gardening and Aeroponics. Experiments at MIT are very promising for the latter.
I personally know of a local produce facility that harvests high volumes of various vegetable sprouts in a span of seven days.
We have companies like “Beyond Meat” working on plant based protein designed to taste similar to the real stuff. These meat substitutes have similar amounts of protein that you find in actual beef or poultry.
Don’t get me wrong, you can’t discount the incredible feed conversion ratio we see with crickets. They’re far more sustainable than the highly inefficient cattle we seem to love.
But, as earlier stated, edible bugs are not the ONLY answer to our need for a more sustainable food supply.
So, with all things considered…
I’d never say never, but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to embracing Entomophagy in the U.S.