Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
It’s already been a big year for bugs. There are the horror movie-style warnings of the cicada invasion that is supposed to hit any minute now. More recently, Eatocracy highlighted a new United Nations report, "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security," that tells you everything you need to know about its message in the title.
If you don’t eat insects, you might one day be in the minority. Two billion people worldwide chow down on them, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which sees bugs as a terrific source of viable protein.
Even better, you have lots of choices: It’s estimated that there are 1,900 different insect species to eat. Here, a couple good options to get non-insect eaters started.
Editor’s note: Read this article in Spanish at CNNMéxico.com
Long before Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King popularized the phrase “Slimy, yet satisfying,” a whole gastronomic culture around insects already existed in Mexico.
About 1 million of the 1.4 million named animal species on Earth are insects, and they have the potential to fight malnutrition around the world, said the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“Wild animals and insects are often the main protein source for people in forest areas,” FAO’s Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in Rome, where the organization recently presented their latest report, "Edible insects; Future prospects for food and feed security."
According to the release, “negative perceptions” and “consumer acceptance” are the biggest obstacles to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries. The organization says that “insect gathering and rearing as minilivestock at the household level or industrial scale can offer important livelihood opportunities for people in both developing and developed countries.”
“The profile of the Mexican insects is very favorable because they have a large amount of protein, there is a major quantity of essential amino acids that we cannot produce in our metabolism, but we need to consume in our meals,” said Julieta Ramos-Elourdy, biologist and researcher at the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
You could call this a case of an early bird not wanting to catch the worm.
All high school student Derrick Holt wanted was a quick bite to eat when he purchased a Sausage McMuffin at a McDonald’s in Buckeye, Arizona.
What he says he got was a disgusting surprise, a stomach problem that’s kept him out of school and mixed messages from the restaurant that served him.
According to a recent U.N. report, insects could be a solution to some of the world's food and health problems. They're nutritious, eco-friendly and abundant. Many countries already consider them a staple part of their diets.
So if we're all to start consuming locusts and scorpions, we can start in Southeast Asia for guidance.