Defined as the human consumption of insects and arachnids as food, entomophagy is nothing new in many cultures and societies around the world. In The United States and several other countries however, most consider it unusual, weird and for the most part a bit disgusting. In recent years though, restaurants serving insect and/or arachnid based foods have begun to pop up in various areas of The United States offering a “unique” dining experience to their customers. Although many establishments do not list the items directly on their menu and the items may only be available during certain times of the year, a quick search on the internet tends to reveal locations where you can take part in an insect eating adventure. Cookbooks and survival guides based on edible insects as well as television shows have also hit the market, bringing an enlightening curiosity as to the possibility of consuming bugs as a food source.
A vast majority of residents in The United States would probably react much in the same way that Simba initially responded in Disney’s The Lion King to even the thought of consuming a squirming bug as a meal, but he too came around to entomophagy in his own way with the assistance of his insect eating pals. Thankfully for those of us with weak stomachs, the insects and arachnids being served up tend to be of the cooked variety. Commonly offered insects seem to include: grasshoppers, meal worms, silk worm pupae, crickets and scorpions. In addition, cookbooks and purchasing sources are available for those who would prefer to try their hand at entomophagy in the comforts of their own home. Many would question why one would want to consume insects as part of their diet in the first place, but this is simply answered when evaluating the nutritional value of several bugs. Insects for the most part are high in protein, iron and calcium, while many contain low to no amounts of fats and carbohydrates. One way to look at this new edible adventure is to consider sushi. A few decades ago, most people wouldn’t have even considered the consumption of raw fish; however, sushi restaurants are now thriving business establishments. Entomophagy might just be the sushi craze of the near or perhaps not so near future. Either way, you may never look at another grasshopper the same way if you give entomophagy a try.