Defrosted bugs about to become dinner. From left to right: wax worms, mealworms, three-week-old crickets, locusts, and a Chilean rose tarantula.
The UN’s Commission on Population and Development estimates that 9.1 billion people will be roving this overcrowded planet by 2050. Millions are already starving and with climate change destroying farmland and populations exploding, the number of the permanently hungry seems likely to expand. So it doesn’t hurt to start getting acquainted with other methods of protein intake, especially entomophagy (aka eating bugs).
Apparently, the more than 1,500 edible varieties of insect are generally richer in protein, vitamins, and essential fatty acids than most types of meats. Most important, breeding them for sustenance requires only a fraction of the natural resources required to produce livestock and crops.
Finding our looming culinary future stomach-turning, I decided to challenge my spoiled Westerner’s sense of disgust by inviting some friends over for a lip-smacking bug banquet. I kept telling myself, “It’s no biggie, these little critters are eaten in most parts of the world; even the French have gladly been gobbling down ants au chocolat and escargot for centuries!” But inside, I was bugging out.
Clueless as to whether I should buy the bugs dead or alive or how to cook them, I asked the famous bug chef and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, David George Gordon, for advice. David has spent the past 15 years traveling the US, holding insect-cooking classes where he wears a chef’s hat with antennae and serves his dishes with a smile and a cheery “Bug appétit!”