During the Brood II cicada swarm of 2013, he spotted what he describes as thousands of the creatures hanging out in trees and making a buzzing sound comparable to that of a low-flying airplane. So many, in fact, that while he was fishing in Fishkill, he caught a brown trout that appeared to have ingested several cicadas in its belly.
With enough practice any hack can create a CAD rendering of a blender or produce an iPhone mockup that'll earn hundreds of likes on Dribbble, but designing a device that convinces people to make a meal out of maggots? That requires a special level of skill. Designer Katharina Unger is on a mission to make eating insects irresistible.
The recent graduate from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and current Fulbright Scholar devoted her thesis project, called Farm 432: Insect Breeding, to developing an appliance that incubates insects for human consumption. The striking blue and white vessel is stocked with one gram of black soldier fly eggs, and over a period of 18 days, the eggs move through the device's chambers, gestating, reproducing, and ultimately producing 2.4 kilograms of nutritious, if slightly nauseating, fly larva.
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A recent report from the United Nations-sponsored Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that bug eating could be an effective way to defeat global hunger and combat climate change.
The report got a mixed reception from the press. For the most part, they, like many North Americans, regard insects as dirty, disease-ridden and gross. Although the report’s key findings made perfect sense, many reporters balked at the thought of making meals out of crickets, ants or grasshoppers. [Editor's note: Not us.]
Are edible insects the food of the future? One Salt Lake City-based company thinks so. Chapul Inc. has cooked up an energy bar with an eye-popping ingredient - crickets.
Chapul Bars come in three flavors - peanut butter, chocolate and Thai - and sell for $2.99 to $3.59 each. They're made from natural ingredients such as dates, agave nectar, coconut, ginger, lime and dark chocolate. And all contain cricket flour.
"Most people don't know that crickets are a rich source of edible protein," said Patrick Crowley, 33, an environmentalist and Chapul's founder. And compared to cows and pigs, crickets are also a more environmentally-friendly source of protein, he said.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
It’s already been a big year for bugs. There are the horror movie-style warnings of the cicada invasion that is supposed to hit any minute now. More recently, Eatocracy highlighted a new United Nations report, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security," that tells you everything you need to know about its message in the title.
If you don’t eat insects, you might one day be in the minority. Two billion people worldwide chow down on them, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which sees bugs as a terrific source of viable protein.
Even better, you have lots of choices: It’s estimated that there are 1,900 different insect species to eat. Here, a couple good options to get non-insect eaters started.
Editor’s note: Read this article in Spanish at CNNMéxico.com
Long before Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King popularized the phrase “Slimy, yet satisfying,” a whole gastronomic culture around insects already existed in Mexico.
About 1 million of the 1.4 million named animal species on Earth are insects, and they have the potential to fight malnutrition around the world, said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“Wild animals and insects are often the main protein source for people in forest areas,” FAO’s Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in Rome, where the organization recently presented their latest report, "Edible insects; Future prospects for food and feed security."
According to the release, “negative perceptions” and “consumer acceptance” are the biggest obstacles to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries. The organization says that “insect gathering and rearing as minilivestock at the household level or industrial scale can offer important livelihood opportunities for people in both developing and developed countries.”
“The profile of the Mexican insects is very favorable because they have a large amount of protein, there is a major quantity of essential amino acids that we cannot produce in our metabolism, but we need to consume in our meals,” said Julieta Ramos-Elourdy, biologist and researcher at the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
You could call this a case of an early bird not wanting to catch the worm.
All high school student Derrick Holt wanted was a quick bite to eat when he purchased a Sausage McMuffin at a McDonald’s in Buckeye, Arizona.
What he says he got was a disgusting surprise, a stomach problem that’s kept him out of school and mixed messages from the restaurant that served him.
According to a recent U.N. report, insects could be a solution to some of the world's food and health problems. They're nutritious, eco-friendly and abundant. Many countries already consider them a staple part of their diets.
So if we're all to start consuming locusts and scorpions, we can start in Southeast Asia for guidance.
I ate bugs for lunch. This time it was on purpose.
By some experts' estimates, the average person inadvertently downs about one pound of insect parts a year, in foods as varied as chocolate (which can contain 60 insect components per 100 grams by law in the United States), peanut butter (30 insect parts per 100 grams) and fruit juice (up to five fruitfly eggs and one to two larvae for every 250 milliliters).
In light of the United Nations' recent plea for increased insect consumption, I decided to take the insects by the antennae and join the 2 billion people worldwide who deliberately make creepy, crawly creatures a part of their regular or special occasion diet.