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Don’t bug out but scoffing insects will help the planet

Anja Sieghartsleitner (MSc Food and Drink Innovation student), Abertay University, Dundee.
Anja Sieghartsleitner (MSc Food and Drink Innovation student), Abertay University, Dundee.

If you’re going to eat crickets, mashing them up and baking them with cocoa and a soupcon of orange is the way to do it.

Abertay University, as reported in The Courier on Thursday, is investigating alternative food sources and people’s reactions to them. So cricket cookies were unleashed on the people of Dundee, to work out who got the dreh boke the fastest, one of the researchers cheerfully commenting it’s a more sustainable food source than meat.

That sounds like somebody who doesn’t fully understand Dundee’s idea of meat. As a Dundonian with culinary courage and dietary weakness, I’ve consumed my fair share of mysterious things. Some of the city’s best kebabs could cleanse the most stubborn systems, and while we’re on the subject I’ve tasted detergent in the occasional pint, and perhaps not stopped drinking immediately. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t answer that.

So, as a native of a city that’s almost proud of its good taste in bad food, the idea of bug biscuits doesn’t faze me.

Maybe it’s not so weird. David Suzuki, the academic and environmental campaigner, suggests cutting down on meat to make a contribution to a better environment.

There’s lots of useful information (although a disappointing lack of crickets) at davidsuzuki.org, including the UN estimate that 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases come from livestock production. It’s a resource-heavy process, with five to seven kilograms of grain used to produce a single kilogram of meat.

I’m a serious carnivore but it’s a serious message. The meat in that peh you had isn’t quite as cheap as it might have tasted, and suddenly the thought of eating insects isn’t too far-fetched. Seriously, is a bedbug burrito any more disgusting than the contents of a hotdog?

Maybe one day we’ll get used to the idea, if we have the stomach for real, meaningful change.

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