Bugs

The is weekend I read a book called “Edible An Adventure into the world of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hop to Save the Planet” by Daniella Martin. I personally have trouble with the ideas of eating bugs. As a small child I had an experience eating a grape sucker. Just as I popped the sucker back into my mouth a large buzzing housefly landed on it and got stuck, I was of course unaware of this until I felt the buzzing thing on my tongue. It was so traumatizing I have avoided grape flavor ever since. Still I enjoyed this book. It has an engaging style and makes a convincing case for bug eating.

In the first chapter she goes over the problem. It’s pretty simple, we have a lot of people to feed and our standard European /American way of feeding them is pretty inefficient and very labor and resource intensive. She has some great numbers about the inefficiencies, but I won’t go into it because honestly it’s a little depressing. Thankfully she didn’t dwell to long on that and instead talks about a solution to the problem. Bugs. She talks about how great bugs are if weighed against other protein sources, both in protein and in resources for production and let me tell you she makes them look pretty fantastic. Even if we don’t use them to feed humans I was taken with the idea of growing them to feed livestock.

My favorite part however, is when she starts talking about human evolution and how bug and insect eating has been inextricably linked throughout our history. Most of this was actually news to me. Also she talks about modern bug eating. And how European and American science has been ignoring the fact that even in recent times most traditional cultures have eaten bugs. Some of that history is fascinating.

She does talk about vegetarianism and veganism and how although they are wonderful philosophies, they really doesn’t actually have any science to back them up in the real world. She probably has gotten a lot of flak for saying that but she really backs it up. It’s not something I hadn’t heard before, because I read a lot of stuff about palio but she says it well.

The part I didn’t enjoy quite so much is when she starts describing her journeys around the world, the people that she meets and the dinners that she has. It was very journalistic and I’m afraid that kind of thing really bores me. There was enough science and facts to keep me reading but I found it really dragged.

At the end of the book she talks about how to grow your own bugs at home and has some tips and recipes for how to cook them. Let me tell you I was considering it but I think I’m just not feeling that adventurous right now, but perhaps in the future I won’t look at bugs in such a harsh light.

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