The prospect of going out for dinner and browsing a menu consisting entirely of insects is traditionally the stuff of nightmares – but more and more people are recognising that bugs and grubs could play an increasingly important in our diets.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, around two billion people already eat insects as part of their normal diet – and around 2000 species have been identified as edible.
There’s a growing (or should I say creeping?) interest in entomophagy – the human consumption of insects – as we continue to seek a sustainable alternative to traditional food sources. Replacing the protein in staple foods with insects would appear to make sense – they’re rich in protein and low in fat – but they’re maybe a little too crunchy for the squeamish!
The UK’s first restaurant serving insects is due to open in South Wales this summer – a concept which is sure to cause a flutter amongst the foodies. Grub Kitchen, the brainchild of Andrew Holcroft, former head chef of Cwtch Restaurant in Pembrokeshire and winner of the Good Food Guide’s Best Family Restaurant award, plans to serve up a whole range of critters including cricket kofta kebabs, bug burritos and Mexican red chapuline grasshoppers. Good luck to Andrew – chefs like him need to keep pushing the boundaries. He’s even come up the tantalising combo of cricket crepes served with bamboo worm fudge ice cream!
It’s probably fairly safe to say that there’s still a long way to go before a bowl of mealworms becomes the dish of choice for most of us, but let’s just remember that when Vesta first introduced its instant curries in the early 1970’s, that too challenged the nation’s tastebuds!