“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!”
“Yes, sir, it’s fly soup.”
Well, I thought it was funny, anyway. Here in Europe, the idea of consuming flies for dinner is usually met with various expressions of disgust and outrage, tantamount to coprophilia or breaking wind in a crowded lift. However, in Lake Malawi they make burgers out of flies. Insect larvae are eaten in many countries by many people. Travel to the Far East and you’ll find all sorts of bugs are eaten on a regular basis by the locals. Small insects are commonly used in food additives. So what’s the big deal?
Apparently, a lot, according to a fellow blogger who featured in the hallowed halls of the ‘freshly pressed’ recently. She made a gigantic fuss out of eating one – that’s right, one – cricket. Honestly, it was as if she were munching on her dead grandmother, the way she carried on. I applaud her for at least trying, but my competitive nature meant that I was determined to do one better. Step one was to locate my prey. Before long, I came across a company that sells all kinds of exotic meat for the adventurous palette: zebra, impala, crocodile, kangaroo, to name but a few examples. If you’re interested, log on to http://www.osgrow.com.
At length, I found the more ‘interesting’ produce on offer, such as peppermint ants, chocolate scorpions and tequila worm lollipops. I settled for barbecue flavour worm crisps (tenebrio molitor), curried crickets (acheta domestica) and some locusts. I understand that tasting such delicacies is a horrifying prospect for those of a more delicate disposition, but believe me when I tell you that the only real horror here is the price. Considering how small the portions are, they’re pretty damned expensive. The contents of my shopping basket are shown below.
They constituted barely a snack, let alone a meal. Nevertheless, the mealworms and crickets didn’t taste too bad with that flavouring. They had a crunchy texture to them and dissolved easily on the tongue, very similar in some ways to Bombay Mix. Next came the locusts. I stir-fried them with garlic, ginger, a few spices, soy sauce and some vegetables. As you’d expect, the little fellows were rather brittle and scratchy, but the taste was surprisingly sweet and delicate. Honestly, if I saw locusts on the menu of a restaurant, I’d probably give them another try, provided the price is reasonable.
So there you have it, boys and girls. I hope my little culinary adventure has given you some ideas of your own, or at least allayed your fears. We live in a changing world and the future will bring us new challenges, not least regarding food production. Replacing inefficient large herbivores with insects and worms could go a long way to resolving some of these issues, while at the same time bringing nutritional benefits to the dinner table. So why delay? Step outside of that comfort zone and make me proud!