According to an article in The Guardian, 80 percent of the world's nations eat insects, a practice known as entomophagy. For many, insect-eating is tradition, but for the Dutch, those worm patties were about consciously overcoming the ick factor for the sake of sustainability.
Many experts — the United Nations, included — believe that insect-farming is the future of food, offering an ecological alternative to animal protein. Insects, for instance, require fewer resources such as land and water and emit far fewer greenhouse gases than traditional livestock. Of course, part of the reason for an insect's tiny carbon footprint is that it is a tiny animal.
Four hundred crickets weigh about 100 grams, a serving that yields about 13 grams of protein — the equivalent of two eggs. Skeptics of the movement say before insects are truly a sustainable protein source, the food industry must become more innovative in regards to how insects are cultivated.
But maybe more time to chew on this trending culinary concept is a good thing. That way, we can experiment with ways to eat insects that don't seem so icky.
When it comes to baking, cricket flour, or cricket powder, works the same as grain flour. The biggest difference is the protein it packs. Two tablespoons of cricket flour contain 22 percent of a person's daily value of protein. Two tablespoons of wheat flour, on the other hand, contain just 8 percent.
As for flavor? We'll get to that. First, I had to find the product — which I could do only online. I ordered from Cricket Flours, a company based in Portland, Oregon, boasting 100 percent pure, sustainably raised crickets. One pound cost me $46.19 — 24 times the cost of wheat flour.
Indeed, before I personally can consider cricket flour a sustainable alternative to beef, pork or poultry, cricket cultivation will also need to become more cost effective. In the meantime, I'm committed to overcoming my societal aversion to eating bugs. To me, entomophagy is more than a trend, it is a revolution.
Recipe courtesy of myrecipes.com
What you need
2 1/4 cups cricket flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12-ounce package chocolate chips
What you do
1. Heat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add cricket flour mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
So about that flavor
Cricket powder in the raw has a nutty, robust flavor. But cricket powder baked with butter, sugar and chocolate chips tastes like normal flour — at least to the majority of those I convinced to try my cookies. Of those 10 co-workers, only three of them thought the cookies tasted funny, claiming a gritty texture or an earthy aftertaste. But the moral of the story is that the majority didn’t a taste a difference.