Have you ever seen a snail in your backyard or garden and the first emotion you felt was hunger? No? A rather large, slimy snail, slithering and leaving behind its sticky viscous silver trail? Still no? Well I do not blame you in the least. They are insects people! And I for one have a prejudice against them – I look at them in their natural state and I cringe.
So would I eat them?
Hell yes! They are delicious. I recently tried cricket sauce made using the same techniques as fish sauce, it was salty and the mushrooms turned out fragrant and wonderful. I then enjoyed dehydrated and fried bees that were seasoned with salt and chilli; they were quite possibly the best bar snack I have ever eaten.
When I was younger I thoroughly enjoyed scoffing down Huhu grubs (The Kiwi version of the Witchetty grub) and only recently in Hong Kong I enjoyed a remarkable dish of juicy snails that had a delicate crunch to them (the crunch came from the fact that the snails were full of barley formed baby snails with delicate shells).
The reality of eating insects is this: they are the single biggest source of protein on the planet and their combined bio-mass is greater than any other; they are nutritious, healthy and clean. The feed to yield conversions are unreal (mammals and fish require approximately 10kg of feed to produce 1kg food, versus insects’ 2kg feed to produce 1kg food) so they are sustainable, easy to manage and they taste awesome! But will we be eating them in the future? Absolutely, in fact we already are, we just don’t recognise them – and that’s a good thing.
If you are going to eat an insect, I would recommend this – accept that they are an ingredient and a delicious one at that, and understand that you are no more likely to enjoy plucking an insect off a branch and popping it in your mouth, than you would enjoy chewing the face off a live cow. Excuse the graphic description, but you get my point. And with that point, I leave you…Eat well!
Jared Ingersoll, www.danksstreetdepot.com.
P.S and FYI – Shellac is a food additive that gives confectionary a noticeable ‘shine’ and ‘crack.’ Shellac is made from the Kerria Lacca insect.