Bugs: the other meat

I love protein. I don’t feel like I’ve had a proper meal if it doesn’t contain protein and vegetables. But I have a bleeding heart and as much as I love meat, I’m perturbed by some of the things I’ve read about the meat industry. Skinny Bitch recounted a few stories out of Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz, and I obsessed about one of the stories for days. I couldn’t get this visual out of my head of some guy torturing a pig on its way to slaughter, and wracking my brain trying to figure out why anyone would do that to another living animal. But we’re a murderous bunch, us beasts.

I was reading this article in the New Yorker about bugs as food. And delicious food from the sounds of the some of the ways they were being prepared: beetles fried in butter, soy marinated crickets, fritters adorned with worms, a spider roll w/fried tarantula instead of soft shell crab. My favorite sounding dish is available in Los Angeles at Guelaguetza: chapulines a la Mexicana are grasshoppers sautéed with onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes, topped with avocado and Oaxacan string cheese (though it doesn’t seem to appear on the menu on their website). But mmmmm….it sounds lovely.

Entomophagy is what bug eating is officially called. And it seems to be a hot topic right now. The thing about bugs is that they have as much protein as meat, sometimes more (fried grasshoppers have three times the amount of protein as beef), and have vitamins, minerals, and fats, and are less ecologically damaging to produce as a meat source than our traditional cows, chickens, and pigs. And breeding insects is more humane, “bugs like teeming, and thrive in filthy, crowded conditions.”

Isaac gleefully eating a giant grasshopper in Bangkok

The problem is getting over the disgust we as Westerners have for eating insects. Eighty percent of the world eats insects for food. That’s most of the world except for us. Me personally, as long as it doesn’t look like a little bug, I’ll eat it. We ate bugs in Bangkok. Well, my friends did, I picked at them a little. They looked too much like exactly what they were. I’ll be happier when they can process out bug protein and it doesn’t come in the shape of a giant grasshopper.

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