From the New York Times:
Scientists who study bugs are thinking harder about how to turn them into good food.
By JoAnna Klein, Sept. 26, 2019
Repeat after me: entomophagy.
It’s derived from Greek and Latin: “entomon,” meaning “insect,” and “phagus,” as in “feeding on.”
Some think it’s the future of food.
In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report declaring the need to swap traditional protein sources for insects to support a sustainable future. The report helped drive an explosion of efforts all dedicated to making mealworms your next meal. …
When Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas, he and members of his expedition used the insect-eating of the native inhabitants as an example of savagery, and as justification for dehumanizing people he would later enslave, said Julie Lesnik, an anthropologist at Wayne State University and author of “Edible Insects and Human Evolution.”
While it wasn’t the only factor, the colonial era deepened the stigmatization of entomophagy in mainland Europe, and in turn among European settlers in the Americas. Further distaste grew as insects threatened profitable agricultural monocultures supported by slavery and industrialization. …
Even in the United States, Kutzadika’a people, or “fly eaters,” cherish salty pupae from Mono Lake in California.
In other words, even the other bands of impoverished Paiute Indians in the Great Basin made fun of these poor bastards as “eaters of the brine fly pupae.”
That’s quite a future to look forward to.
But entomophagy advocates think reprogramming can transform people’s attitudes toward insects. For instance, kale, sushi, lobster and even olive oil or tomatoes were once scorned and unfamiliar in some cultures.
But change can come about. With education and by acknowledging negative feelings toward eating insects, adults can try to resist passing them to their children.
“It will really benefit them if they don’t think bugs are gross,” she added. “Because it’s our kids’ generation that’s going to have to be able to solve those problems.” …
In the United States, black soldier flies, good at converting waste products to protein, have long been used as feed for poultry and farmed fish….
That kind of research could be a model for eventually mass producing other insects for human consumption, like mealworms or crickets, which we’re a long way off from growing in ways that could feed the masses.