Introduction to “Entomophagy” Lab, 2018

          Insects are being eaten in most of the world. Archaeological evidence tells us that entomophagy has been practiced since mankind first made an appearance on this planet. It would appear that all levels of society consumed various insects and today they remain an important food source in many parts of the world. Insects are important to Australian aborigines, as well as African, Middle Eastern and Asian populations. Filipino farmers flood their fields to capture mole crickets that are sold to restaurants while the Thais eat crickets, grasshoppers, beetle larvae and dragonflies. During the Pacific war prisoners supplemented their diets with insects. Aztecs favored the corn ear caterpillars while in China, bee larvae are eaten raw or fried. Of course, for the average person, a good steak and a salad would be your first choice but during uncertain times, it is always good to have alternatives such as insects. Insects are low in carbohydrates, high in protein along with fat and calories which are needed in a survival situation. For example, crickets and grasshoppers have approximately 24 percent protein. Grasshoppers have 200 calories per 100 grams (approximately 900 calories per pound - some studies show up to 1,200 calories per pound) with 7-9 percent fat comparing to steak at 250 calories per 100 grams. Also, crickets have amino acids required in the human diet. Beef provides 200-300 calories per 100 grams with 18 percent protein and 18 percent fat. Unfortunately, they do not weight much and it will take a rather large quantity to feed you but they can be a food of opportunity - so if you find them, use them. Also, they do not need to be the main course of a meal. You may only find a few of this and that type of insect so mix and match and use them all. In a food shortage situation, raising insects takes minimal space, they are quiet, and are not very demanding in food requirements. Also, insects are what they eat which is more appetizing than what catfish and shell fish eat or even pigs. Unfortunately, most of what we eat has a cultural basis. For example, how many like blood pudding. In addition, when anything is prepared in a readily acceptable form, it can be consumed without any problem. For example, if an insect was dried and ground into flour, mixed in a soup as thickener, to fortify bread, cakes and other flour-based food, no one would be the wiser. We now consume red dye 56, MSG and a variety of other additives without even a thought of their source or what they can do to our bodies.