Wednesday, September 30, 2020
No menu items!

Bite back and munch on insects, environmentalists say

By: Paige Hubbard 

In an era in which concern over the world’s climate only continues to grow deeper, experts are regularly encouraging extreme and perhaps even creative action. One such strategy that’s growing more popular, yet is still unthinkable for many is the consumption of insects.

This year’s Earth Day is being marked Monday (April 22), and advocates of edible insects are singing the environmental benefits of sprinkling your dishes with crickets, grasshoppers, and ants. Gourmands concur and say the insects are a treat.

Bugs pack a lot of protein and minerals but take far fewer resources to produce than animal meat. Indeed, the market for edible insects is growing in North America, even as it’s long established in many cultures throughout the world.

Among those leading the critter call in the United States is Joseph Yoon, a self-proclaimed “bug advocate” based in New York. Yoon is the executive director of Brooklyn Bugs, which hosts an annual edible insect festival. He is a regular on the lecture circuit in his advocacy for including insects in food.

“It takes a fraction of the resources to grow a pound of crickets as it does a pound of beef,” he said in a recent interview.

He regularly points to a 2013 report by the United Nations Food And Agriculture Organization that says that critters “provide food at a low environmental cost, contribute positively to livelihoods, and play a fundamental role in nature” despite their creepy fame.

According to the FAO, entomophagy, as the act of eating insects is known scientifically, should become more common for three main reasons: insects are rich in protein, healthy fats and vitamins; insects emit much fewer greenhouses gases than livestock; insects don’t require the same land use for production.

Yoon does not underestimate the public relations challenge for insect cuisine.

“The creative mission for me is how do I take something that people don’t perceive as food and make it crave-worthy, make it something so that people go like, ‘Man, I never thought I would want to eat insects but looking at his food, I really want to try it,'” he said.

And so he supplements trendy, delectable cuisine with insects, whether it’s shrimp and jalapenos or chips and guacamole.

Edible insects are in fact a mainstay of many cultures and countries like Mexico going back centuries.

Mexican chef, Gerardo Alcaraz, has brought the fare to New York with his downtown-Manhattan restaurant, The Black Ant. Its menu includes items like, “Croquetas de Chapulin,” or “Locust Croquettes.” Baby grasshoppers are sprinkled on top.

In a recent interview, Alcaraz didn’t just emphasize attributes that delight environmentalists or nutritionists the world over.

“It has an incredible flavor,” he said.

Latest News

Insults and interruptions mar first Trump-Biden debate

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, faced off in their first...

Lebron James “as locked in as I’ve ever been,” ahead of NBA Championship

 The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James believes living in the NBA's bio-secure bubble has probably been the biggest challenge of his triumph-filled...

Biden to Trump during debate: “Will you shut up, man”

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden met in Cleveland on Tuesday (September 29) for the first...

Biden, Trump both say they’re “looking forward” to debate

Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will square off for the first time on Tuesday (September 29) in a...

In New York City, excitement mixes with uncertainty as more schools open

Young students lined up outside a public elementary school in Brooklyn on Tuesday (Sept. 29) morning, sporting an array of colorful masks...

More Articles Like This