There’s an old adage that goes something like this: the only two creatures on the planet who will survive a nuclear holocaust are cockroaches… and Keith Richards. The good news about the apocalypse is, there will be plenty to eat, and the menu will be free of rolling stones.
If you’re stumped, you clearly haven’t heard about the latest protein diet sweeping the terroir: insect du jour. Baked Beetles via Bangkok. Fried grasshoppers from Guadalajara. Sautéed Capetown caterpillars and Butterfly Eggs in Bangladesh. Andrew Zimmern’s mouth is watering.
Turns out there are literally thousands of edible insects waiting to crawl across your palette with multiple legs, and food scientists are unwavering about their nutritional value.
The latest round of lab tests by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization prove that in the protein category, certain toe-biters stack up evenly with chicken, pork and beef, and most have far more iron. It shouldn’t surprise you that a basket of fried Jerusalem crickets are hands down healthier than deep fried buffalo wings, and about 1/10th the cholesterol. Dipped into ranch dressing, you’re beer-swilling football buddies won’t even know the difference.
Chowing bugs, AKA entomophagy, is well established in the far east. It’s been an voluntary alternate food source for decades, with the insecticide flavor pallete ranging from earthy to shroomy to nutty to crawfish-like, (which makes sense, cause ya’ll in N’awlins’ calls’em mudbugs). The right kind of larvae are nothing short of a delicacy, with the added bonus of being off the charts in omega 3’s.
The fad has hardly caught on stateside, save Zimmern’s Travel Channel show and reality debacles like Fear Factor. It’s surprising they haven’t tackled the issue in The Walking Dead where you’d imagine food shortages being more dire than they’ve been portrayed.
I want a scene where two desperate, dirty survivors are brawling over the last dragon-fly patty, only to lose it to a zombie sensing a tiny drop of blood inside the little bugger. The survivors would skulk back to their camp and settle for yet another night around the campfire, dining on boring black ant enchiladas.
I can’t wait for the moment Costco’s stocking mass packages of chemically flavored arachnids. “’Scuse me, where are the Kirkland BBQ’d Tarantula chips?” You’d ask, basket overflowing. “Aisle 37.” Would be the reply, “Between the Kirkland Salt’n’Pepper scorpions and Kirkland Waterbug filets. 5000 are only $24.95.”
The odds of them being out of stock are nil. Insects reproduce ten times faster than mammals, so the supply chain will forever flow. And as the trend turns from hokey to wildly profitable, farmers will migrate en masse from pricey cattle and certified organic produce, to far more affordable insects, (pesticide free!)
I can taste the revolution in fusion cuisine. And I look forward to obsessive/compulsive food-bloggers snapping pictures of their nuevo small-plate insect dishes before diving in. But if it all sounds thoroughly inedible, just consider that most insects won’t have the slightest hesitation dining on you.