(Also known as entomophagy.)
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of eating insects for some time. Once I got over the initial societally-ingrained disgust, that is.
I’ve never been a real big meat eater – I was vegetarian for about 12 years, did the raw/vegan thing for nearly a year. I will eat it from time to time (my husband is a big-time carnivore, so I find myself eating more meat these days, as he works to eat less), but I can’t say I crave it.
I also have massive issues with the related factory farming of animals. It’s horrific. Regardless of whether you’re ultimately going to eat them or not, all animals – all sentient beings – deserve to be treated humanely. The disregard for animal welfare haunts me. It’s also wildly unsustainable, from a save-the-planet type perspective (I’m a fan of saving the planet, personally – actually, it should be called “save the humans,” since the planet will be just fine, but humans may end up not being able to survive on her toxic air and water.)
Anyway, enough of that soapbox.
I’ve also struggled with low blood sugar since I was in high school – eating sufficient protein is important for helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Fortunately, TONS of foods offer sufficient levels of protein for human growth and development: there are the obvious ones that come to mind; peanut butter, black beans, tofu. Those are fine, but honestly I don’t love them. But – I do love chickpeas (including hummus), and eggs (especially free-range eggs from happy, healthy chickens, which we are working on raising ourselves: previous post New Home for Chickens), I always add some hemp seeds to my salads, and love quinoa and sprouted, whole grain bread. All of these have plenty of protein to satisfy me on any given day. (I’m not a certified nutritionist, so do your own research/ consult your M.D. or N.D. on what works for your body and supplies you with what you need.)
Enter bugs. Bugs, ostensibly, solve both of the above problems: the need for humans to ingest protein, and the need to have a reliable and sustainable source of such protein. It makes sense to me.
I’ve been interested in some of the bug protein powders that are available (such as the products available from Entomo Farms and others.) But honestly I just have not made the effort required to order the powder, figure out what the heck to do with it, etc.
Then, the other week, I was walking through the (perfectly normal, mainstream) grocery store and perusing the chip aisle (I have an affinity for anything salty – chips are my total downfall). Boom! Cricket chips! They called to me – like a symphony of crickets on a summer’s night, these chips called out my name.
I took them home and forgot about them for a few days.
Then, as I was getting ready to take the kids to the park one morning and ransacking my kitchen trying to find enough snacks so my children wouldn’t perish on the one-hour drive (is it just me? the second my kids get in the car, the cries of “mom, I’m hungry!” begin, as though I never feed them), I came across the bag again. I tossed the cricket chips into the diaper bag and headed out.
Gavin wouldn’t try them (I told him they were made from bugs, so he refused to even touch one), but Emory Scout didn’t seem to mind the source and scarfed down half the bag on the way to the park, exclaiming, “They’re yummy!”
And they are.
I don’t know what a handful of crickets would ordinarily taste like, but when they’re dried, pulverized, mixed with stone-ground corn and chia seeds, topped with BBQ (or Cheddar) seasoning and cut into chip-shaped wedges – they’re really damn good! I never for one moment thought about the fact that I was eating bugs.
I hope more bug products find their way into the mainstream market, because I know I’ll happily try them!
(So will Emory Scout.)