Omnivorous Interruptus

This may be my last entry…

I want to eat insects. I strongly believe that insects are an untapped and sustainable resource in Western Culture and that I am being discouraged unnecessarily. I want to sample insect street food and make insect protein a cornerstone of my diet. I can’t though because ‘it’s just not the done thing dear boy’. You could say it’s simply not Cricket.

Vast swathes of this planet eat insects. Asian cuisine has never shied away from insects as a main ingredient, many African nations see insects as a vital part of their diet but here in Britain I am thought of as a bit of a loon for wanting to eat them.

Do the maths. Current ‘acceptable’ meats like beef, lamb and chicken cannot be produced at the rate that the developed and developing world requires and the prices will rise sharply over the coming years. They all take too much space and we are becoming more and more concerned about the welfare of the livestock. That’s great and I fully endorse it but, again, it will lead inexorably to a huge price hike and meat will inevitably become a niche product. So why not look at sustainable insect farming methods instead? It seems so obvious to me but instead most people baulk at the idea claiming it’s disgusting. These are the same people who drink milk (along with its government approved levels of pus, antibiotics and other chemicals) from another animal but not their own and lap up bee vomit rather than use sugar – I know I certainly do.

Insects generally don’t care about how much space they have. Typically they swarm and exist is huge numbers in tiny spaces. Look at your average beehive or wasps nest and consider the implications on farming. We could reduce the amount of carbon used per kilo of meat by simply replacing that meat protein with insect protein – you don’t even have to know you are eating it! Also, let’s not forget that there is a tolerable level of insect in anything you eat now anyway and some food additives are derived from insects too.

Insects absolutely have an image problem here in ‘the west’ but it doesn’t need to be that way. If we can get enough people to eat insects in whatever form they prefer then we can start to make a difference to the general attitudes of the public. In my lifetime I have seen the gradual acceptance of garlic and chillies from alien, weird foods to absolute store cupboard staples. We have seen curry make the great leap from ‘foreign muck’ to national dish.

It’s going to take time to accept it of course but I think it’s doable.

It’s Earth Day 2015 – I think I’ve done my bit.

Thanks for reading now stop hogging that packet of mealworms!


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