A recent Wall Street Journal article has brought up a very interesting topic. Namely, why the hell don’t we eat bugs? And by we I mean the West, because as you can see in the picture, the East loves their bugs. There are a lot of good reasons to eat bugs, and WSJ is quick to point them out.
For starters, they are high in protein, exoskeleton and other important vitamins and minerals. Not surprisingly, they are also low in fat. Plus, they make up so much of the biomass on the planet, that mass consumption of these guys would be unlikely to have any sort of ecological impact. And on the flip side, swapping out our regular meat for bugs would decrease our water usage and require less food to feed the cold-blooded creatures.
So is it really so crazy to think we could be eating bugs soon? Well, yes. I mean sure I’ve eaten escargot, been known to swallow the occasional fly and according to the article, there are trace amounts of bugs in many of the foods we already eat, but that is a long way from looking a fried grasshopper in the eyes and chowing down on it. One of the hardest things to do as a human is to consider your food in its original form. A steak looks nothing like a cow. A chicken breast looks nothing like a chicken. But a locust it always going to look like a locust unless you puree the crap out of it.
Then again, no one seems to have an issue digging into lobster, crab or shrimp. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, those crustaceans are really just the insects of the sea. Think about it…if it weren’t for gravity, insects on land could grow huge, just as lobsters and crabs have in the oceans. Consider that next time you go out for seafood.
Yet I remain a skeptic, but within reason. Some of the food we eat regularly today would have been thought of as inedible by our ancestors. Fluorescent green slushies? Gummy candy? Rattlesnake? Foods like these would have scared the crap out of people a century ago, so it is entirely possible that eating bugs could become the norm. And when that day comes, I will be the first in line to chow down on a bowl full of ant fettuccine.