My friend David Gracer has some news from the world of insect eating! From Dave:
The world has become increasingly interested in the subject of edible insects. There’s frequent mainstream media coverage, conferences, and now two important new developments. World Entomophagy, of Athens, Georgia, has launched a open-sourced website that will become the definitive source of information on entomophagy – a meeting-place for researchers and practitioners with visionary interests and goals. We are at www.worldento.com.
For now, we are seeking all manner of contributions. Although we’re happy to see basic articles such as, What is Entomophagy; Allergy Concerns; Wine Pairings for Insects; How to Prepare your Insects for Cooking; and General Recipes, we are more interested in the cultural and international aspects of entomophagy; the many disciplines involved (such as Entomology, Anthropology, Nutrition, Sociology, Psychology, Literature, Agriculture, Sustainable Studies, History, Engineering, Chemistry, Culinary, Marketing, etc.); and artwork, video, and creative writing. We’re also creating a gallery of cross-referenced images with captions: documentation of edible insects around the world. Eventually we hope to publish original, peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Technical articles are welcome, and authors of such work will be asked to include short summaries in layman’s terms. In all cases we will prominently feature contributors’ names and other information they would like to include. Currently we cannot pay for content; the current budget is set for the site, though we may make exceptions for some articles. We would be happy to discuss the possibility of barter (edible insect products in exchange for articles) or terms for future compensation (within reason).
The other major development is EDIBL – The Environmental Discourses of the Ingestion of Bugs League. This student-group model was founded by Rena Chen, a food-anthropology major at Princeton, in 2010. Other chapters have started at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, the University of Texas, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There are big plans to continue growing nationally and internationally, to pool resources and increase awareness. While college/university campuses might be the best setting for such enterprises, EDIBL’s founders would welcome other kinds of groups. Hopefully, the evolution of multiple chapters would encourage collaboration, friendly competition, and perhaps conferences.
There are Facebook pages for both “World Entomophagy” and “EDIBL Nation,” as well as Twitter. If social media holds no interest for you, email me at email@example.com and I’ll answer any questions you have. As the main editor of the site, I’d be delighted to see anything you might like to contribute.
The future of this subject is very bright; consider joining us. According to the FAO, climate scientists, and other experts, there’s a very good chance that humanity’s future will have a lot more bugs in it.
It’s been a really great month for entomophagy (bug eating)! Daniella Martin of Girl Meets Bug headlined a big special edition of the San Francisco Weekly that was also picked up by NPR. I really liked this quote from the star-studded array of insect foodies that were interviewed:
“You have to scratch your head, from a logical perspective,” says Zack Lemann, chief entomologist at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans. “Why do we eat shrimp and crawfish but not their brethren on land?”
Exactly! I still think Dave’s name of Land Shrimp was a great re-branding of bug food.
I liked this video profile of Monica Martinez, the woman behind the Don Bugito food cart in San Francisco. Her comparison of current attitudes about eating insects to western attitudes about sushi 10 years ago is a good one. I think she’s missed a major marketing comparison, though–eating bugs is the ULTIMATE paleo diet!
BTW, you can find the plans for the Wurm-Haus here.
A chef in Australia is promoting bogong moths as a tasty, hazelnut-flavored treat:
“‘They have a lovely popcorn flavour, like hazelnut,’ he said. Mr. Bruneteau, who has run “bush tucker” restaurants in Sydney and Paris, suggests pulling off the “furry” wings, then popping the moths in the oven for three minutes in a splash of canola oil. Alternatively the chef, who trained in the Royal Australian Navy, recommends putting them through a coffee blender and sprinkling the resulting powder into an omelette, pancake or crepe.”
I also find coffee grinders are very useful for making mealworm flour. You roast the mealworms until they’re crisp, and then grind them into flour. Makes a great high-protein addition to bread, and adds a nutty taste. You could probably substitute them in this cornbread recipe.
If you haven’t visited the Food Insects Website, I highly recommend it.