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Eat insects to save the world: A chat with “Bug Chef” David Gordon

David George Gordon - The Bug Chef

Future shock: Insects are almost certainly going to be a bigger part of your diet in the future. Present shock: Insects are already a part of your diet; you eat bugs, every day, by accident. Shocking fact: Bugs are healthier, for you and for the planet, than many, if not most, things Americans eat.

For those who may have missed the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s 2013 report Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security, Humanosphere suggests instead reading David George Gordon’s newly revised The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook. With some 40 recipes for cooking up great snacks of crickets, grasshoppers, meal worms, spiders and other creepy crawlers, it’s a great way to dive into the world of Entomophagy.

David Gordon cooking up a tarantula

David Gordon cooking up a tarantula

Joel Rogers

Despite the Latinate term that makes bug-eating sound like some sort of disease, it is quite common around the world for people to consume insects. Only in the rich world, mostly the West actually, is this frowned upon with disgust. David (a Seattle writer Tom Paulson’s known for half his life!) likes to dig deep into issues that some might think are obscure, or even bizarre.

But this time, David is probably just ahead of the curve as an aficionado of entomophagy. As the UN report notes, we are heading toward a fundamental food crisis that can only be averted with some big changes in our dietary and food production practices.

As the world population grows to the expected 9 billion mark over the next few decades, we will be hard pressed (in terms of arable land, access to water and so on) to feed everyone if we continue to emphasize large mammals as our primary source of protein.

What’s needed, says David, is for the West and much of the developed world to learn from the of rest of the world the many benefits of eating bugs. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. David makes a great case for bug-eating on environmental, health and even moral grounds. And we talk about some of his favorite treats, like roasted wax worms! Yum.  So give a listen. It’s fun and fascinating.

And before we dive into the edible bugosphere, Tom and I discuss some of the week’s top news in the Humanosphere beginning with Tom Murphy’s post on the amount of money taken out of Africa illegitimately (through tax dodges, illegal harvesting of natural resources or just exploitative outsiders). We also note a very cool milestone, with PATH celebrating surpassing the 5 billion mark for distribution of a heat-sensitive vaccine vial label that has saved many lives.

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About Author

Gabe Spitzer

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago.