Friday, November 15, 2013

The Insect Cookbook

The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable PlanetThe Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet by Arnold Van Huis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Insect Cookbook is what it claims to be: a cookbook with insects as the primary ingredient, since we'll be needing more and more sources of protein as the human population continues to grow.

The book starts with an overview of insects and has some interesting bug facts. Did you know that in the tropics, insects cost more pound for pound than meat and that in some parts of Mexico, popped ants have become the preferred snack at movie theaters? Fascinating stuff.

Insects as a food source are widely discussed, from Australians marketing grasshoppers as sky prawns, the Dutch calling them Land Shrimp, to weaver ants, termites, and yellowjackets being roasted and consumed. Spiders are given a mention despite being arachnids and not insects, though both are arthropods. Really, would eating tarantula legs be that much different than eating crab legs?

Many of the recipes in this book use either migratory locusts and two different types of mealworms, the insects most widely available to buy in the Netherlands, where the book was originally published. Others use termites and things of that nature. There are salads, soups, main courses, and desserts. Carmellized grasshopper, anyone?

This book does a great job at making the idea of eating insects more palatable. I've long thought that insects probably don't taste much different than shrimp or lobster. Aside from the box of chocolate covered insects someone at work gave me and that time I finished a bowl of cereal only to find there were weevils floating in my milk, my insect eating experience is minimal.

As I read this book, I found myself getting hungrier and hungrier. Thankfully, there is a list of insect suppliers in the back, right behind the chapter talking about how much less resources it would take to raise insects for food than it does cows or pigs.

Four out of five stars. I'm going to go scare up some grasshoppers to throw on my leftover pizza.

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