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Ann Ipock: Ipock-a-Lips – Bugs might be the cure for future world hunger

  • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 11:30 am

That's right, go ahead and gag, scream or faint, whichever you prefer. But my title today comes from a recent article with the same name. And no, it wasn't written by the producer of “Survivor” or “The World's Weirdest Restaurants.” It was written by Kevin Thibodeaux of the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

Here's the first paragraph: “They're creepy. They're crawly. And soon, they could be on your menu.” I hate to tell you, Kev, but I've already seen them in a few restaurants and they weren't even on the menu. They were crawling on the floor and once on a table. I know this can happen even with the best intentions, but still…

Hosted by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., the three main speakers were  Marcel Dicke, chair and head of the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands; Michael Raupp, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and the third one is a bug blogger. And you thought only people blogged, right?

Daniella Martin is the host of GirlMeetsBug.com. At this event, she offers visitors a platter of asparagus with cicada at the Netherlands Embassy for this enlightening, but maybe not swanky affair. Now I'm going to gag. Why would anyone waste perfectly good asparagus that way? I say serve me some veal Oscar and call it a night.

Raupp is also a bug blogger – what the heck? His is titled BugoftheWeek.com. I say some people have way too much time on their hands.

The “panel of experts” at the seminar – I love to say “panel of experts” because it can encompass so many individuals since hey, isn't everyone an expert on something?
But these dudes say that currently 70 percent of agricultural land is being used for livestock. They believe that eventually the demand for livestock will be too great for the land available – perhaps as early as 2025. Dang. That means we've only got twelve more years to feast on ribeye, pork medallions and Southern fried chicken. Say it isn't so.

In fact, already 2 billion people worldwide are eating more than 1900 species of insects, per the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. And why not? They're a good source of protein, iron and calcium, the article states. I'm dripping with sarcasm, y'all. Can't you hear it?

The mostly widely consumed insect is the beetle. But caterpillars, bees, wasps and crickets are a close second. Dicke, from this panel of experts, says that to many people these insects are a delicacy – much like lobster and escargot in our Western culture.

I'm sorry but I don't want beer-battered beetles as a side dish. Pickled bees and wasps?
Eeeeeeewwwwwww!
 How about crispy crickets – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside? No! No! No! (But for that matter, don't you wonder who was the first person to ever eat an oyster? Brave soul or crazy fool?)

Martin says that eating insects isn't new – hey, it would be for me – but that it's been happening for thousands of years. And so, true to her belief, she cooked up a mess of crickets (and the aforementioned asparagus and cicadas) for her guests at the seminar. There's an accompanying photo of Martin wearing a fuchsia apron with bugs all over it – not real bugs, but colorful brooches, offering the icky insects to the grossed-out guests. A woman in the background is either hiding a laugh or about to get sick in her hand. Puh-leeze.

Martin says the biggest problem is that insects are expensive to get. Well, come on over to my house, Daniella, 'cause they're free here. We have a charming army of cicadas that sing so loud I have to run a fan at night to drown them out. We have crickets – also loud, and we have Palmetto bugs, earthworms, earwigs, grasshoppers, spiders and flies. Oh and I forgot to say, mosquitoes and no-see-ums, though they're probably too tiny to fry up in a cornmeal batter.

But y'all, I've saved the best for last. And lest you think I'm exaggerating, I'm going to type this paragraph verbatim. “Processed foods, including tomato soup, ketchup and peanut butter, have bug parts in them. In addition, natural dyes used in certain foods like M&Ms are made from bugs.”
Okay, now, who's calling who crazy? And just to think that all these years, I've been putting chip-clips on my M&M bags to keep out the bugs and darned if they weren't already in there.

Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller”
amipock@ec.rr.com www.annipock.com

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