Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Farming of the Future

This is almost more than I can swallow.  The last National Geographic featured a one-page piece on the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's efforts to promote insects as food worldwide.  Yup.  Farming bugs.  Eeeewwww!  Above is a picture of what is sometimes referred to as a Toe-Biter, and otherwise known as the Giant Waterbug, the featured menu item in the article.  Talk about getting off to a bad start in the marketing department.  And they want ME to EAT a Toe-Biter?

For all you weight-watchers, the Nutritional Facts are very encouraging.  Serving size is 100 grams.  (Bug-size not given--generally thought to be around 12 cm.)  Each bug is only 62 calories.  Total fat is 8.3 grams.  Phosphorus 226 mg.  Iron 14 mg.  Calcium is 44 mg.  Carbs only 2.1 grams.  And, finally, protein 19.8 grams.  Now, that's quite encouraging.

It seems that a serving of small grasshoppers has nearly the same protein as ground beef.  And, it doesn't take a genius to understand that it would be a lot cheaper farming grasshoppers than cattle.  Judging by this year's grasshopper population, we could have harvested a lot of protein for free!  Well, kind of. 

Apparently, at least 1,000 species of insects are currently part of the human diet worldwide.  For example, Mexicans liquefy stink bugs for seasoning sauces.  Thais deep-fry the Giant Waterbugs and it's pretty widely known that the Aussie Aboriginines eat ants--said to have a lemony flavor.  Eeeewwwwww!

The article goes on to say that "as the global population nears seven billion, the FAO sees insect farming as a move toward "food security."  Getting Western palates to accept the idea is the biggest challenge.  Duh! 

If anyone thinks I'm going to try bugs on my dinner plate, they've got another think coming.

There was a young man from Mizzou
Who encountered a mouse in his stew
Said the waiter don't shout
And wave it about
Or the rest will be wanting one, too!


  1. Elora -- I am familiar with certain populations that include insects in their diet. This is a tradition that goes back eons. I really don't think it's that bad of an idea. Of course I believe that all of life needs to be used in balance. Perhaps insect eating will promote more people to become vegetarians? (Tongue in cheek on that last remark.) Wasn't it Huxley that wrote a book called Brave New World? Maybe we will all have to be brave in the future with the environmental changes headed our way. (Now where is my bug guide -- Tarantula a la mode for dessert tonight sounds good?) barbara

  2. Eeewwwwww! OTOH, Barbara....I seriously agree with you...being "brave" and the world needing to change....I'd just like to put if off as long as possible in this particular area. Tarantula a la mode?...I am giggling as I type this and haven't been able to stop ever since I read your comment ten minutes ago. Tarantula a la mode, indeed! Eeeewwwwwwwwww!

  3. Elora, you need to find the nutritional information for fruit flies. That's your best bug crop! Heh.

  4. 8 grams of fat - too much fat! I'm with you Elora, I won't be eating any bugs unless there's nothing left in the world. Nutrition matters not in this case. :) blessings, marlene

  5. Makes me think of a scene from one of the LONSOME DOVE movies where a cowboy, served lobster for the first time, says, "That's the biggest bug I ever et."

    All in how you look at it --and how said bugs taste.

  6. Ha,ha...I love that limerick, Elora! I'm with you on the bugs as cuisine thing---I'm not a big meat eater, but I think I'd just as soon get my protein from beans, not bugs. As I read your post, I was eyeing the swarms of ladybugs speckling our ceiling. Based on the way they smell when you smush them, I don't think I'd fancy them for breakfast. :-)

  7. Boy, Debbi! You sure hit the nail on the head. Maybe fruit flies are a good place to start to appreciate this cultural reformation. Bite-sized. I am like a whale taking in krill as far as the fruit flies are concerned right now in our house. One is crawling across my screen as I type this! Got him! Eating every night as they fly through (or into) my mouth, sharing my dinner, uninvited is such an adventure!

    OTOH, despite Barbara's and Vicki's admonishments about (a) cultural necessities, and lobsters (ahem!), I think I'm with Marlene and Beth and will stick with Limas and October beans at least for the protein part. And milk. I have to admit, though, Vicki, I am a devoted consumer of Dungeness crab (coming from the PNW, Kitsap county in particular)...and that's gold, there! i empathize with the gentleman of Lonesome Dove! But given the chance to try one before I knew what a divine taste lies behind the carapace...I think I'd have been a bit shy, too! Same with lobster. And talk about a toe-biter!

  8. I read that article too! Oh man...I really hope I won't be eating insects any time soon...