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).
This week, the Mexican restaurant Pujol was chosen by Restaurant Magazine as one of the world's 50 best restaurants, landing in 17th place.
In 2011, Pujol placed 49th and in 2012, 36th. This is the first time Pujol broke the top 20 on an international best restaurant list.
Chef and owner Enrique Olvera's culinary technique is described as both ancient and modern, all while using local ingredients.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Patricia Jinich is chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. She also hosts "Pati’s Mexican Table" on National Public Television and blogs at Pati's Mexican Table. This story originally ran in May 2012, but we're sharing it again in celebration of Mexico's Independence Day.
I was born and raised in Mexico City, in a family where every taco happens to be, as my dad boasts, “the best taco you’ve ever had in your entire life." That is, until you eat the next one.
Living in the US, I am often dismayed at how my home country is portrayed in the media. For some, it’s easy to just write off the entire country as dangerous and riddled with cartel violence. As a former political analyst, I am not in denial about the hurdles my country faces, but the Mexico illustrated in some news reports is certainly not the Mexico I know and love - nor is it the Mexico experienced by the 22.67 million international tourists that visited last year.
Cooking, eating and sharing Mexican food has helped me and my Mexican-American boys connect with our heritage. Plus, I truly believe that its warm, generous, colorful cuisine has the power to make Americans fall in love with Mexico - one bite at a time.