Saturday, May 10, 2008

Entomophagy

Rice is in short supply, the world over. So is wheat.. Eating more meat is not the answer, as grain production will need to go up by a factor of 10, to feed the livestock.

The most eco-friendly and least resource-consuming solution is to eat insects, says David Gracer of the Gastronauts, as reported in Discover magazine. The practice, though jarring to western sensibilities, is quite common in many parts of the world.

“If you want to feed a lot of people, insects are the best choice in terms of getting the biggest bang for your buck.” Insects, he claims, are nutritious. Although they typically contain less protein by weight than beef or chicken—100 grams of giant water bugs or small grasshoppers, for example, have about 20 grams of protein, compared with 27 grams in the same amount of lean ground beef—they do have other benefits. For instance, grasshoppers contain just one-third of the fat found in beef, and water bugs offer almost four times as much iron. A 100-gram portion of the cooked caterpillar Usata terpsichore has about 28 grams of protein. In their dried form, as they are commonly sold in Africa, insects such as grasshoppers may contain up to 60 percent protein."

The Guardian also referred to a UN report of 2004 that promoted insects as an environmentally friendly food source: low impact, consuming very little in the way of feed, easy to harvest, with no special measures required for their husbandry. Insects are arthropods, like lobster, crab and shrimp. They are plentiful, and account for over half of the known species on the planet. We spend billions of pounds trying to control or eradicate them, when we could just be eating them. So why don't we?

We could all become cricket lovers, in a different sense



6 comments:

Ottayan said...

I am a cricket lover, however not of crickets. :)

Usha said...

fabulous! From tomorrow it is antz for breakfast and mosquitos for dinner !! No need to cook and house is pest free once the meal is over.
Will only shop in "flea" marker henceforward!

Raj said...

ottayan, you seem to be entomophagously-challenged. Too bad.

Usha, or maybe add some to the sambhar?

Anonymous said...

Have you not tried the eesal (worker ants with wings that appear at the start of the rains) dry fry on Chennai's beaches? Also, bee larvae are popular snacks in many parts of India. Quite yummy too.

It's us urbanites who don't know how many insects are eaten even in our own country.

Dr.Dheep said...

Visited your blog searching for "fried eesal" and ended up reading ur entomophagy post. An awesome collection of posts. keep up the good work...

Gautam said...

Fascinated. Where's a good place to try it in Delhi?