Earlier this year, I received an email from Professor Arnold van Huis from Wageningen University, Netherlands. Prof. van Huis was gathering information for the “World Inventory of Activities on Edible Insects for FAO” because the United Nations has been seriously considering exploring insects as a sustainable food source, and wants to start formulating a strategy to promote human entomophagy in both developed and developing countries.
With this newly launched website, we will be able to stay informed and learn from such entomophagy-related efforts such as the “Edible Forest Insects” project in Laos PDR, which is currently headed by the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The site provides some basic information on the use and potential of edible insects and interesting links, which include the proceedings of the workshop “Edible Forest Insects: Humans Bite Back held in 2008 in Chiang Mai”, and an information flyer promoting the contribution of edible forest insects in assuring food security. Thanks Prof. van Huis and his Phd student, Joost Vanitterbbeck, for the update!
So, I was watching Letterman last night and to my surprise, Salma Hayek starts talking about how she likes to eat chapulines and ant eggs. The Late Show even flashed a “Salma’s Insect Recipe” on the screen right before they cut to commercial, but it was too quick for anyone to actually write it down. If I find it, I’ll post it for you guys.
So what’s next? Salma Hayek as the celebrity endorser of entomophagy? It just might work.
Finally posting this TED Talk. Prof. Dr. Marcel Dicke is the colleague of a professor I’ve been in contact with in The Netherlands. I contacted them last summer before I went to Amsterdam for summer school, and he and his PhD student were kind enough to offer to meet me and show me their insect facilities, but alas, my lack of direction and time schedule wouldn’t allow me to make the trip to Wageningen. Oh well, maybe next time…
They’re using a lot of chocolate to mask the insects, but what can you do? Eating insects is still new to most and people love chocolate…including myself. Dark, please (cause I’m now older and more refined…not really).
I’ve had the same surprise reaction as Dr. Dicke when finding out that more people than I expected have eaten insects. Perhaps it is just the people I’ve had conversations with in the Bay Area…many have traveled around the world and maybe have tried eating an insect or two while abroad. Others remember trying them as children in elementary school or family-oriented events such as zoos or science museums. Although many people who I’ve talked to have tried an insect in the past, they were mainly in situations where they hardly frequent. When asked if they would eat them in again in the U.S., most responded with a no because we don’t eat insects here. Maybe one day, eating insects won’t just be an exotic excursion, but become “as American as apple pie” (whatever that means).