Feasting On Insects

Julie Derhak, Staff Writer

Could you pass over the seasoned crickets please? You see crickets are a great source for iron, and protein, and calcium. So are a lot of other critters of the insect world. Entomophagy, the consumption of bugs for food, has been gaining popularity. With population levels rising along with the struggles with the production and cost of food, bugs are beginning to become an attractive source for food.

Although humans have been eating insects for ages, most Americans and Europeans alike would turn down a tasty plate of beetles.

“I think Westerners reject the idea of using bugs as food because traditionally we think of bugs as pests, something we want to get rid of and kill. Kind of like mice and rats,” said Janet Woodward, CTE Foods teacher at Bingham. “There are lots of chemical poisons used to try to get rid of them, so accepting them as something good would be a big stretch. People would have to be sure that none of the bug killer poison was in their system.”

Even if Westerners find the six-legged creatures unappetizing, many parts of the world eat bugs regularly. The giant water bug is a common delicacy in Asia, and tarantulas are eaten in South America.

If locusts wraps don’t sound appetizing, maybe chocolate covered ants might suffice. HOTLIX, a candy company, sells a wide variety of insect candy. Products include spiced larvets, scorpion suckers, and crick-ettes.

Junior Gabrielle Hoyer once ate a scorpion sucker. “It was a bit crunchy and tart, but pretty good.”

With 1,417 species of edible insects available in the world, there are plenty of nutritious options. One hundred grams of crickets contains 121 calories, and caterpillars contain twenty-eight grams of protein. Not only are bugs nutritious, they are environmentally friendly. While livestock takes up a lot of space to care for, bugs can be crammed together with no worries and are low maintenance. Now not every backyard bug is safe, and eating them raw is not recommended. Incorporating these cold-blooded creatures into gourmet meals has already happened; The Brooklyn Kitchen in New York is a gourmet restaurant that offers a five-course meal of insects, so bugs might become significantly more ingrained into our everyday meals. Someday we might all want a bite of those seasoned crickets.