Hit or Miss: How do you feel about eating insects as a source of protein?

4 min read
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HorMCrickets

In 2013, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report called Edible Insects – Future prospects for food and feed security. In it, they contend that we as humans may soon need to get over our aversion to creepy crawlies, as we may soon need to stuff them in our faces as a source of protein.

“It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accommodate this number, current food production will need to almost double. Land is scarce and expanding the area devoted to farming is rarely a viable or sustainable option. Oceans are overfished and climate change and related water shortages could have profound implications for food production. To meet the food and nutrition challenges of today – there are nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people worldwide – and tomorrow, what we eat and how we produce it needs to be re-evaluated. Inefficiencies need to be rectified and food waste reduced. We need to find new ways of growing food.”

And they suggest we start eating things like mealworms, crickets, spiders and other bugs. Of course, people have been eating bugs for thousands of years – and in many cultures still eat insects and arachnids. Cambodians, famously, love to crunch down on deep fried tarantulas. Here, and in other parts of Africa we eat mopane worms, which are not only incredibly nutritious, but also pretty tasty delicacies.

I’ve eaten mopane worms, scorpions and crispy crickets – but I’m not sure I’d be able to wolf down a gooey tarantula. Here’s what the team has to say:

insects

Darryn:

“It sounds utterly gross, right? And yet, I think it could be interesting if the food source was farmed and prepared in a manner that actually makes it taste decent. There’s one hell of a stigma to get over when it comes to accepting insects as a food source, but I’m game for anything if it actually has a fantastic taste and texture to it. That, and I’d like to complain at least once to a waiter that there aren’t enough flies in my soup.”

Kervyn:

“I’m the very opposite of a picky eater, so gulping down on some bugs is no big deal for me. And I actually have gulped, having had the opportunities to eat mopane worms, grilled grasshopper, and an assortment of smaller dried out creepy crawlies. And you know what? They weren’t bad. Most of them boasted more crunchy texture than retching flavour, so I would have no issue of these very nutritional morsels supplementing our diet. Just stay the hell away from me with broccoli and cauliflower though.”

Gavin:

“I’m up for trying bugs as food but I think it would depend on how they are prepared. If it comes looking like chicken nuggets and not tasting like dirt then I don’t think I’d have a problem. But if someone just drops friend crickets on a plate I’m not sure that would be appealing”

Zoe:

“Totally depends on the bugs. Spiders and really any bugs with knees creep me out far too much to even imagine allowing inside my body. But worms and flying creatures could work for me, maybe. And really, once you clean it and cover it in chocolate, I’m sure it becomes edible. Still gross, but perhaps offers a unique variety compared to traditional food sources.”

Noelle:

“That’s Fear Factor-level stuff for me, but I suppose if it’s your only option (as it was in Snowpiercer). Seriously though, there’s plenty protein in oats and eggs, so bug munching would be absolutely the last resort, thanks. I’ve tasted dried mopane worms and they were very unappealing.”

Tracy:

“I don’t think I could ever eat bugs. Rationally, I know that it’s no big deal. I mean, if you were enjoying eating an apple and you found half a worm – why stop eating the apple? You were enjoying it beforehand, and you’ve already eaten half the worm, so why not finish it? Because ewww gross, that’s why. It’s a gut reaction. I’d honestly rather find another source of protein like nuts”

Insects! They’re nutritious, apparently quite tasty, much better for the environment, and soon, may be necessary. You tell us though! Would you munch on mealworms or crunchy creepy crawlies?

Last Updated: February 24, 2017

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • HairyEwok

    YOU EAT WOT M8!
    http://i.imgur.com/qEWypeY.gif

    Eating bugs is just as bad as having pineapple on your pizza.

    • MonsterCheddar

      Indeed.

    • Original Heretic

      A fighter that makes a face like that deserves to get knocked out.

    • Captain JJ

      and avo

  • MonsterCheddar

    If it saves me from starvation, yes. Otherwise, eh eh.

  • I might have another solution…
    https://youtu.be/Mku-rUTG3eg

    • MonsterCheddar

      XD

    • Soylent Green is people!
      Soylent Green is people!!

  • MonsterCheddar
    • Sageville

      I see the new live-action gender-swap version of Mega-mind star in this toddler….

  • I’ve had Maponi worms and quite enjoyed those.. going to try spiders later this year if my holiday plans work out.. not looking forward to that to be honest.. but do want to experience it at least

    • Some suggest eating the legs first, other say skip the legs to eat the body – which tastes, they say, like a mix between chicken and cod.

      • Sageville

        I cannot even conceive what a chicken/cod mash up would taste like…

    • For the Emperor!

      I tried it in Cambodia. Tarantula wasn’t bad at all, Cricket needed sauce though.

    • Captain JJ

      Yea, I’ve also had those. Weren’t too bad.

  • Unavengedavo

    If is comes down to survival, then I would eat bugs. But I wouldn’t mind trying it out once O_o

    Fun Fact:
    People that live near Lake Victoria have a serious problem with bugs flying around. And instead of taking to insecticides, they actually started catching them to make burgers out of them.

  • *bites Whopper burger*…that’s future me’s problem xD

  • Member Berry Bob

    If it’s going to come down to us eating bugs in order to live/ safe the planet etc. then let’s just forgo the traditional sense of food all together. Take the bugs and construct a “this meal has all the stuff you need to live” mix. Blend it, dehydrate it and put it in a pill form. We can take 1 pill per meal and live happily ever after.

  • konfab

    If they can make a mince substitute like Soya Mince except with bugs, I honestly wouldn’t mind.

    However eating a freshly steamed grasshopper is not one for me.

  • Magoo

    I think Darryn hit the nail on the head. Well said sir!

  • HairyEwok

    By 2050 we’ll have 9 Billion people on this world……. How about we stop breeding like rabbits then for once?

    • miaau

      I begged my wife, but we had to have a second child. There was something almost biological about her argument for the 2nd child, i.e. I think instinct and nature had a lot to do with her stance. And I say this no matter how many rational reasons she gave, I think underlying she was being pushed.

      I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, by the way, just a comment.

      • Original Heretic

        My wife is pushing for child 2 at the moment…

        • miaau

          Yeah, I hear you.

          Trouble is, before we got married, I told her I do not see a future with kids, not ruling it out, I just do not see it. At all. Not sure why, just never imagined having a child, ever.

          you made a comment, probably, over six months ago. You said something along the lines of “we can never make another legend like this” with reference to your child and having another. I can tell you, I thought the same, but they are different, both legends.

          • Original Heretic

            I remember that. I still feel the same way, wondering how we could ever have a kid as awesome as the one we do now (gawd my boy is just so cute, everyone who meets him just melts).
            But to dead honest, I don’t think the wife and I can financially afford another child right now. Them little beings are expensive to raise properly.

      • konfab

        Keeping to the replacement rate isn’t a morally bad position. You are merely creating replacements for when the time comes to go to the eternal LAN party above.

        Besides, I think there can be psychological problems with only children.

        • I’m an only child. Whatchu trying to say? Hmm? 😛

          • Sageville

            SEE!

            SEE WHAT HAPPENS WORLD!

      • Captain JJ

        A lot of people just want that second child for some reason. Getting to that 2.5 average.

        • konfab

          An heir and a spare :p

          • miaau

            we were once told

            1 boy, 1 girl, a spare and een vir volk en vaderland

          • Captain JJ

            LOL

    • miaau

      Also, new comment, Sweden in the 1930’s had a policy which was not savoury.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilisation_in_Sweden

      • HairyEwok

        China did the same and I believe they were a bit more radical than Sweden. If i remember correctly China actually implemented a law that a family can only have a certain amount of children and be a certain sex. If there were more or the sex was off/wrong, they would do some pretty horrible things.

        • You are correct on one of those. In 1979 they implemented the one child policy which has been lifted now to allow for two. They never had a ‘this sex only’ policy. However, many favoured having a male and so aborted when they knew if it was a girl. Which is why there is a disproportionate number of boys to girls ration. Also, the ‘horrible’ thing was to fine the shit out of the parents who had another child. It was quite common for rich people to pay said fine to have more kids.

          • HairyEwok

            Ahh cool, my mind is vague on it so thank you for clearing it up.

          • konfab

            Only “allowing” the rich to have children is an interesting way to decrease inequality though.

        • Original Heretic

          Yeah, at one point they were only allowed one child.
          But I don’t think they restricted them to a certain sex, though. That was more of a cultural thing, where the families would rather have boys than girls.

          Neil Gaiman’s one short stories, Changes, was pretty powerful in addressing this. The story crux was that a new drug was developed that cured cancer…but the side-effect was that the recipient changed sexes. As the years went by, it becomes a recreational drug.
          China gets hit hard, because suddenly there are a shortage of girls. Too many parents were giving their little baby girls the drugs so that they would have boys.

    • Preach it mate. Preach. God damn breeders.

      • HairyEwok

        Seriously though if we really think about it. If we control our population we eat less, waste less and build less which in turn gives nature some breathing space.
        The decline in population would also mean less jobs are needed but it’ll also end up nearly destroying any employment issues, each person will have a role to fill.

        This is probably why I’m being told never to run for presidency, since my first act would be to try and control the lands population.

        • It’s why I am not having kids man.

        • Lu

          Well I believe people should get mandatory sterilization before receiving grant money so I would totally vote for you.

    • For the Emperor!

      I have reached a place in my life where I don’t even know if I would ever want kids anymore. Yes, having a son so I can live vicariously through his cricket/rugby fame would be nice. But the way things are going? I think I should just save some DNA for in case and get snipped…

    • Magoo

      You may be on to something..

      Rabbits breed so fast that they may become a reliable source of meat production…

      Bunny chow!

      • HairyEwok

        Hahahah yeah, well that’s one way of looking at it, but when you breed the rabbits you’ll have activists on your ass for doing it.

        • konfab

          Not really.
          My friend used to keep meat rabbits.

          She justified it because she knew the rabbits were looked after as well as possible and lead happy lives until they became a Rabbit pizza.

      • Original Heretic

        Rabbit meat is not very nutritious, unfortunately.

        • Correct. People used to die with full bellies back in England a few hundred years ago because there is almost zero nutritional value in rabbit food. Which is ironic with their penchant to fuck and reproduce! hahaha

        • konfab

          Complete myth. If you eat a fat rabbit that you rear yourself, it will have plenty of nutrition.
          If you go and eat a half starved rabbit, it isn’t going to have that much nutrition.

          http://thewannabehomesteader.com/rethinking-rabbit-meat-as-a-survival-food/

          • Original Heretic

            Oh wow, that’s awesome. Shot for the info!

            And I read there that it tastes like chicken. Further proof that we’re living in the Matrix!

          • Rabbit is also delicious. Yum.

          • Well if you make stew for a family of 10 with a starved rabbit you are not going to get much from it. What you will get is a bad reputation for being non-nutritious ha! Also, rabbit burger, yum!

    • Lu

      Yep. Sooner the machines rise up the better.

  • Umar
    • miaau

      Was the load mouth lady not killed in some amusing way later on the movie?

      Pooty Tang or something? Movie is so stupid and silly, it was amusing. AND it did not take itself seriously.

      And Wanda Sykes was in it.

      • For the Emperor!

        Was it not one of the Scary Movies? With the Wayans Brothers?

        • miaau

          Well, whoops!

      • Umar

        This was Scary Movie, but Pooty Tang was really amusing. Sa Da Tay!

        • miaau

          Yeah, this is me, remember. My “pop culture” knowledge is, um, not so good.

          Also seen parts of Scary Movie years ago. Was not so funny, but still more or less watchable.

          • Umar

            Yeah it was okay. Would take Pooty over Scar Movie any day.

  • miaau

    I struggle to eat calamari sometimes when it is squid heady, so, um, no.

    As per Gavin and some others, I have no problem with this as long as it does not LOOK like an insect. Say, the Chicken nugget or sausage idea is great for me.

  • For the Emperor!

    So I’ve had the Tarantula – wasn’t bad actually. Also a giant cricket which had less flavour than the spider. Do I count the Scorpion and Cobra (not an insect I know) that were in that special bottle in Cambodia? I know it was liquid, but mad it was a tasty liquid!!! With the right preparation, I would eat that Tarantula again, and these days I HATE HATE HATE crickets so make it with a nice sauce and I will devour them all!

  • Original Heretic

    People will do whatever it takes to survive. If it means eating something that you wouldn’t normally eat, then so be it.
    Spice it up, make it taste good and let the om nom nom commence.

    And with regards to what Zoe said above about covering them in chocolate, sorry to dampen things for you Zoe, but there is also a chocolate shortage being predicted.

    • Original Heretic

      I also thought about this movie.
      Probably the best role I’ve ever seen Evans in.

      • Well Noelle mentions it. Utterly loved the film.

        • Original Heretic

          Oops, missed Noelle mentioning that!

          Yeah, great movie, bit of a sleeper hit.

  • Playing a lot of Rust has showed me that eating other people keeps the population in check, and the ones who had low enough IQ to try and attack a big ass base goes extinct.

  • Captain JJ

    I’m very easy with trying anything in terms of food. I would love try out some interesting food specialties and delicacies if I ever get the opportunity.

    • And mushroom sauce on a burger?

      • Captain JJ

        I’m not talking about messing things up that are already nice! XD

  • By 2050 WW3 would have devastated the planet and food will not be the issue.

  • Also my first choice.

  • Sageville

    I really don’t mind that powdered insect meal stuff being used in foods, that’s about as far as I go. Eating the whole insect, carapace and guts and all…. yeah I’ll pass..