From the Series
Entomophagy sounds more like an academic discipline than a type of cuisine. In reality, it’s the practice of eating insects and arachnids, especially by people. And unless you’ve been living under a mound of dirt like a juicy earthworm (best prepared in flour, salted to taste), you’ve already noticed the plethora of cookbooks, recipe blogs and research papers advocating for creepy-crawlies as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly superfood. So why has it been so difficult for people to let go of their Western sensibilities and dig in?
In 2015, Edinburgh student Courtney Yule theorised that it we’d be more likely to embrace a sauteed cricket if the preparation of the new-age meal was easier to implement. With this is mind, Yule created the Entopod, a kitchen device that largely resembles the bugs it claims to help cook.
Modular in its design, the Entopod includes a grinding component to create insect powder, food storage containers, a measuring cup, and a fondue set-up to encourage experimentation with insect based recipes.
The thinking behind the “starter-kit” is largely supported by insect-food experts like John House who, in a research paper, noted that while there is a growing interest in the use of insects as food, uptake of insect-based foods in Europe is low. He made the recommendation that insect snacks like ground gryllidae should be designed with more practical considerations in mind.
“Research should shift from attempts to forecast acceptance and engage with ‘actual’ examples of insect consumption; social, practical and contextual factors affecting food consumption should be emphasised,” reads the recently published paper.
Yule’s brand of experimentation with a hands-on device could be a step towards removing the yuck-factor as we move toward alternative food sources.
“The main barrier is obviously getting consumers to accept the idea of eating insects. Before I began this work I didn’t even like to touch them, but I don’t have any problem with eating them now and it is a practice which is growing in popularity every day,” she was quoted as saying.
“People think nothing about eating prawns and shrimps but they have a different reaction to grasshoppers and crickets. However, the more you read about the health benefits, the less bothered you become. You can do anything with insects; sweet and sour grasshopper, mealworm macaroni, lime and ginger locusts or cricket cookies.”