Can insects learn to love eating us?

Fellow insects, we have to mobilise.

In August, Contributoria featured an article asking “Can [humans] learn to love eating insects?”, describing new people-startups focused on turning our cricket and grasshopper friends into - I’m not kidding here - food.

This is, of course, an unexpected threat. We’re used to humans running from us, not grinding us up and adding us to muffin batters. Yes, they’ve always tried to keep us out of their homes (good luck!) and there’s the occasional stomp attack, but we’ve generally been able to live in peaceful harmony, at least from our perspective. And yet now there are even websites with recipes. Caramel glazed cricket crunch coated flan? It sounds great - except for the crickets. Or mealworm French fries?


Well, that one makes it sound like they’re getting desperate, but still - we can’t let emotions get in the way. If they’re going to start thinking about eating us, we have no choice. As much as it may disgust us, we need to ask the question: can we learn to love eating humans? And, if not, can we at least figure out some ways to hide them in our salads?

Our mosquito correspondent, Itchy, shared his perspective at last month’s symposium at the humans’ farmers’ market (where we all ate our way through some amazing strawberries, by the way). All Itchy knows is their blood, but he loves it. “If the rest of whatever’s inside those big bags of skin tastes like their blood, man, we have been missing out”, he said, before he snacked on an unsuspecting toddler wearing shorts.

Obviously, the rest of us don’t usually venture quite so close - but we must. Itchy has worked with our Committee on the Eating of Humans to put together a quick FAQ for you all to review as we embark on this brand new initiative.

Q. Humans are so big. Where do we start?

A. Opinions are split. The ants tend to insist we start with the legs, since they’re closest to the ground and the ants, of course, can’t fly. Lice like the hair (though the rest of us aren’t convinced). But it really comes down to taste as well as aesthetics. Maybe your first time you just want to crawl up a nostril and check things out. You get a good view from in there.

Q. What’s up with the modesty? Do we really want to eat something that’s ashamed of displaying its own body? Who wants to have to bite through clothes to get a decent meal?

A. First of all, our pals the moths would have an antenna to pick with you over your attitude about what the humans wear. That’s their favourite part. But, yes, the rest of us may not want to fight through layers of outerwear just to get to the good stuff inside. You have to remember, though - sometimes you do have to work for your food. We need to put aside our prejudices about organisms that are more modest than we are and just go with the flow. Plus, some of those clothes can be great hiding spots. There’s nothing better than camping out in a pocket until it’s time for dinner, and then your meal is right there next to you. No travel required.

Q. But they talk so much and so often when they see us they emit these terrible shrieks. It’s enough to give me a headache. How do we get them to be quiet?

A. That’s easy. Eat their tongues first.

Q. Raw or cooked?

A. Again, it all comes down to preference. Raw absolutely offers ease of preparation - the mosquitoes are rarely wrong when it comes to these things - but cooked can offer a bunch of new sensations and flavours. Just take a magnifying glass and hold it up to the sun, get the humans in the right spot and… no, wait, that’s how they cook us. Give us a little while and we’ll figure out some easy cooking methods. Look for them in the next iteration of this FAQ.

Q. But if we eat all the humans… whose picnics will we infiltrate?

A. Ah, the age-old question. Look, there are lots of humans out there. We’re not talking about making them your entire diet. We’re just talking about sprinkling some here and there as a good source of protein, or, more typically with most of these creatures, fat. On top of your guacamole, mixed into tortilla chips, or just plucked off human-sized skewers. There will always be more humans. You know the old saying: for every one you see in your home, there are 100 more inventing sprays and traps to get rid of you. We’re not worried about running out of picnics. I mean, if we don’t stop driving our gas-guzzling insect cars, the climate may not support more picnics before too long, if you know what I mean. But running out of humans? It’ll never happen. Those creatures even survived the cold war.

In conclusion, the time is now. Close your eyes, hold your nose (or whatever sensory organs you use for vision and smell) and chomp right in. We can change insects’ preconceptions and break down the prejudices, I promise. It happened with sushi, and it can happen with people.

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