Back in the early '90s, I got into buying, preparing, and eating caterpillars on a fairly regular basis. They were smoked and crunchy/chewy and delicious cooked in a peanut butter sauce with onions and garlic and hot peppers. On one of many trips through the Central African rainforest, the rickety and over-stuffed bus I was on broke down and some of the women passengers disappeared into the thick trees only to return within the hour with handfuls of caterpillars wrapped in their shawls.
Termites were also very popular when in season. I remember one late evening when the main thoroughfare in the capital Bangui was filled with kids and teens carrying nets on long poles, catching the termites swarming around the street lights. I tried them a couple times but never became a big enough fan to buy and prepare them myself.
Does this whet your appetite? If so, you're not alone. A 2014 market research report by Mintel found that 26% of non-insect eating Americans would try eating them (21% of Germans; 26% of Americans; 27% of U.K. residents and 52% of Chinese). At a recent gala in Manhattan, the Explorers Club fed spiders on a stick to Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity).
- "Let them eat bugs", Canadian Business, June 2015.
- "Crickets for lunch", Business Week, Oct. 6, 2014
Would you turn down a job or defer grad school to start a company that manufactures a food product with crickets as one of the main ingredients? Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz did! Entrepreneur Patrick Crowley thinks it's a great idea too!
- "Success on six legs", Entrepreneur, May 2015
- "Insects as the food of the future", Candy Industry, August 2014
If you had to eat an insect of your choosing, would the cricket top your list? According to psychologist Paul Rozin, people would typically choose to eat a cricket over other types of bugs.
- "Six legs to hold me", Newsweek Global, Dec. 5, 2014
If you're looking for some recipes for preparing insects, we've recently added these to our collection:
- The eat-a-bug cookbook : 40 ways to cook crickets, grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin
- Edible : an adventure into the world of eating insects and the last great hope to save the planet
Do you have any stories about eating insects? How do you feel about the future of insects as a source of protein in our diets?
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why say crickets, but show a picture of someone e about to eat a grasshopper?
I guess when we run out of the food most people in the US eat, we can start eating bugs--will always be plenty of them! UGH! Thanks for the informative & interesting post, Frank!
p.s. once when I was a kid, I was given a dare to eat some ants & I did & they weren't that bad--they tasted like raisins
Since grasshoppers and crickets are from the same genus orthoptera, I think Anonymous is just nit-picking!
So you're saying nits are okay to eat as well? Seems like it could be the caviar of the bug world.
I'll take mine processed. Also don't like to eat meat if it has bones it. I don't like to shell shellfish either. Sorry, not strong in these areas. :) I did try part of a cricket bar. Thank you
Cute story about the bus and the women.
I love them. I had some great cricket flour cookies at the county fair as well as some crickets. Tasty and healthy. Let's also not forget the great cookbook :"Cooking with insects.
Best blog title. Ever.