Edible: An Adventure Into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet

    Ask yourself: why does our Westernized culture demonize insects but not fish? Why do we squeal at a chirping cricket but not at industrially-produced seed oils? How did we stray so far from our original paleo diet and allow a mental bias to exclude insects from our food options? More importantly: what will the future of food look like? Daniella Martin tackles all these questions in her book Edible, and she imagines an insect-eating utopia where McDonald's serve cricket Mcnuggets and McMeal (mealworm) burgers! So, put aside your preconceived prejudices against bugs and listen to Martin's story about the countless benefits of eating insects. 

    The curious kid who digs around in the sandbox and pops a cicada in their mouth was onto something: bugs are a proper food source for humans. We all need to harness this child-like curiosity and consider food options other than our conventional meats and fish. In Edible, Martin outlines the ecological, nutritional, economic, global, and culinary reasons for eating insects. As she travels the world, she experiences how cultures revere edible insects and transform this humble ingredient into elevated, delicious dishes. 

    Edible is a great resource for learning about how insects could be the most energy-efficient and nutrient-dense source of protein for humans. As our human population continues to grow, the climate gets warmer, and agriculture degrades the land, we need to think of creative food solutions for the future. Insects have a low food conversion ratio, meaning that they take less energy to grow or feed and yield a high output (protein-dense food). The pesticide industry pours so many chemicals and resources into eliminating insects from crops, but we should be harvesting those very insects. Insects can be grown in small spaces, reproduce quickly, and require minimal food processing, making them the perfect option for our ever-growing world. 

    At the Eastern Shore Food Lab, we experiment with insects and have even hosted a cricket taco event. While eating insects can seem like a daunting task, we encourage you to try them and learn about the benefits of including these critters into your diet!

      Nicole Hatfield