Insects will be appearing on our store shelves, menus, and plates within the decade. In The Insect Cookbook, two entomologists and a chef make the case for insects as a sustainable source of protein for humans and a necessary part of our future diet. They provide consumers and chefs with the essential facts about insects for culinary use, with recipes simple enough to make at home yet boasting the international flair of the world’s most chic dishes.
Insects are delicious and healthy. A large proportion of the world’s population eats them as a delicacy. In Mexico, roasted ants are considered a treat, and the Japanese adore wasps. Insects not only are a tasty and versatile ingredient in the kitchen, but also are full of protein. Furthermore, insect farming is much more sustainable than meat production. The Insect Cookbook contains delicious recipes; interviews with top chefs, insect farmers, political figures, and nutrition experts (including chef René Redzepi, whose establishment was elected three times as “best restaurant of the world”; Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations; and Daniella Martin of Girl Meets Bug); and all you want to know about cooking with insects, teaching twenty-first-century consumers where to buy insects, which ones are edible, and how to store and prepare them at home and in commercial spaces.
*My Book Review*
DISCLAIMER: This book/eBook being reviewed was provided free of charge by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Okay, so while reading this book, I discovered something very disturbing: I have Entomophagophobia. This basically translates to ‘A fear of eating bugs’. Didn’t know I had it, but now I certainly do! I spent the first half of this book gagging at just the thought of eating the food described.
The authors have attempted to introduce a very interesting topic: how do we convince the world to eat more bugs? It’s a great idea, by doing so we could help famine stricken countries by giving them the protein they so desperately need – and in a dose that is both likely more readily available as well as containing more nutrients and iron per gram than more traditional protein sources. Added to the equation is the fact that less land will have to be cleared and there will be a significant lowering of the protein carbon footprint thanks to the consumption of insects over hamburgers.
Will the western world succumb though? The authors do their best to try and entice the reader into an entomo-enriched diet. There are plenty of recipes that cover many different cultures in an effort to tease people with their proclaimed culinary delight.
Will it work though? Honestly, I’m not so sure.
Yet something weird happened two thirds of the way through this book, once they mentioned the fact that people eat honey (which, in a nutshell, is bee vomit), I started to be okay with this concept. This probably should have been the main focal point for the authors if they want westerners to try bugs, rather than the ‘save the world‘ route they took.
At times it really felt like the authors were forcing insect cuisine on the reader. Then, at other times, there was a feeling that they were almost looking down on the readers, with their ‘we just need to trick the dumb humans into eating bugs and then we will be able to control the masses‘ attitude (at times). Yet, reading the interaction between the authors and the people they interviewed talk about their passion for bugs and treating them as a food source was inspiring.
Overall, I am giving The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet by Arnold van Huis, Henk van Gurp and Marcel Dicke 3 out of 5 stars.