Back in September, we took the family to the Insectival at the Athens Botanical Gardens. If your kids like bugs (and ours do), it’s a fun event. There were lots of cool educational displays, crafts and a big butterfly release. This was all fairly standard fun kid stuff.
The thing I didn’t expect to see was a big cooking demonstration from Big Cricket Farms. This is a company that grows insects for use in food, and they were serving up several different example dishes. I’ve heard a few of the arguments that protein from insects is hugely more sustainable than say, eating cows (and you can read more about that on the Big Cricket website). And I know eating insects is fairly common in some other countries. In fact, when I heard Tim Ferriss talking about protein bars made with insects a few months earlier, I tried to get some free samples, but they quickly ran out. So I was a pretty willing and informed customer to try out the Big Cricket offerings.
The rest of my family was not so enthusiastic. My wife and son were not at all interested in trying it out. But I did talk my 3-year-old daughter into giving it a shot. It looked like food, and it smelled like food, but how did it go down?
First, I tried the Grasshopper Guacamole. If no one had told me there were grasshoppers in there, I probably wouldn’t have known. They were just about undetectable, and the overall taste was good. So far, so good.
Next up was the fudge. It looked like fudge, but with some little dark inclusions (mealworms? not sure). I liked it fine. The bugs didn’t taste bad, and had a crunchy texture like you might find from crystallized sugar in regular fudge. And since it was fudge, my daughter was ready to give it a go. Unlike me, she was not at all happy about the crunchy parts. She somehow managed to eat the fudge part, but spit out the bug part.
Last up was the meal worm stir fry. After the fudge, my daughter was not interested in trying this. And judging from the people around us, she was far from alone. As you can see in the picture, the bugs are very visible in this one, and that visual alone was too much for a lot of people. But it was sort of a mind over matter thing. I convinced myself it was going to be ok, and it was. Crunchy, flavorful, not bad at all.
Here it is, a little over a month later, and my daughter and I survived with no ill effects. I’m not exactly seeking out restaurants that serve bugs. But the next time somebody’s trying to pitch insects as alternative protein, I’ll definitely give it another shot.