In terms of sustainability and what we eat and what its footprint is on the environment and the consequences of eating one thing versus another, obviously it makes a lot of sense to be eating insects. They’re incredibly plentiful. They’ve got a very short turnover rate. You could be eating termites.
I think people could easily get over their squeamishness. You just need to tell people things like lobster is a large insect. Basically, you’re eating a very big bug and you’re okay. This is the most expensive thing on the menu. Just kind of shrink it down. People in Asia eat insects all the time and as with so many foods it’s all in the preparation. If you put in enough garlic and salt – there’s ways to get people to try it.
I have not eaten a lot of insects. I ate a termite in Africa but it was on a bet. It was a soldier termite. It was alive and I don’t really recommend the live soldier termite as something you want to start with if you’re going to start exploring eating insects. But I think it’s neophobia that stands in the way of that and it’s a slow process.
Somebody in the food industry said that the amount of time it takes for something to be a novelty food that’s maybe an appetizer or something you’re getting at the Explorer’s Club, from the time that that makes its way to the home, to the refrigerator, to the stovetop is about ten years. Now he’s talking about things like Thai food or any other cuisine where initially people have a lot of resistance and then it shows up in restaurants. And then eventually it makes its way to everyday life and it’s completely assimilated into the culture.
So I don’t think people are gonna be eating insects anytime soon but given the sustainability issue there’s a lot of reasons to recommend insect eating. I would certainly be willing to try. I don’t have any insect products in my home right now but I’d be game to give it a try. I think it’s not nearly as bad as people think.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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