If you’re like most people, you probably don’t particularly like bugs. But according to IB Times, the students at Clapton Girls’ Academy in Hackney, London came face-to-face with all sorts of insects during their entomophagy education, which is intended to prepare them for a new GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
Not just that, but the insects had been turned into items resembling normal foods!
Andy Holcroft, head chef at Grub Kitchen, was in charge of creating the unique recipes and putting them to the test. He cooked for an establishment known as Rentokil’s Pestaurant Lunch Club, which specializes in entomophagy — the consumption of insects.
On the menu were a number of creepy-crawly concoctions. Appetizers included curried cauliflower with cricket pakoras and black ant and chili cheese pate, and for the main course, hamburgers — but with a twist. Chef Holcroft used a high-protein blend of mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers.
Stateside, about 5.5% of Americans say they grill more than once a week, and hamburgers are one of the most popular grilled dishes in the country. In fact, the typical American eats burgers an average of 4.3 times per month, and Americans aren’t likely to replace their beef patties for beetle patties anytime soon.
Still, Chef Holcroft is showing that bugs can be used in creative culinary ways. For dessert, students were able to indulge in cricket crepes with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and bug praline.
“It’s not difficult to make a tasty meal using edible insects,” Holcroft said. “You can be really creative with the way insects are incorporated within a meal.”
The experience in its entirety was intended to educate children about the nutritional value of insects. Insects are a high-protein food source that are readily available. For example, scientists estimate there are at least 1.5 million ants on the planet for every human being. Understanding the ways to use alternative food sources such as insects can help to create a more sustainable future.
Fortunately, those who were a part of the experience were pleasantly surprised at the children’s willingness to try new foods.
“Many of the students were surprised at the delicious taste of the bug-based dishes they tried,” said Rentokil’s UK product manager Berwyn Evans.
It should also be noted that back in 2011, London Natural History Museum entomologist Stuart Hine said that “about 70% of the world’s population eats insects as a regular part of their diet.”
Scientists even say that insects have more protein than lamb, chicken, beef, or any other meat.
“They tend to be high in protein, low in fat and are packed full of B vitamins, zinc and other essential minerals,” Holcroft said.
Current statistics estimate that the world’s population will increase to 9 billion by 2050. Insects could very well be the sustainable protein solution we’ve all been looking for. That is, if you can stomach them!