Cockroach cuisine

Cover of Eat Grub:the ultimate insect cookbookThe truth: By the year 2066 we will be eating insects as a significant part of our diet. Current population growth will mean that we cannot sustain our existing farming methods, be they of the animal or plant variety.

Let’s be very clear on this – we will have to supplement our diets with insects, or we will die.

Bugs have been much in the news lately – you can barely open a magazine or a newspaper these days without being hit in the face by headings such as :

It really is only the Western world that has this revulsion for roaches, crickets, silkworms, spiders and maggots as food. The rest of the world has already realised the nutritional value of these critters. And the library is right on target with this trend as well. Here’s the pick of my crop of helpful reads for future Entomophagists (that’s us in 2066):

Cover of Cockroach

Cockroach by Marion Copeland is a fascinating account of this much despised critter. Copeland’s book includes recipes for cockroach dishes and a surprisingly attractive section on the cockroach in art.

In my opinion, there are only three types of people in this world: People who hate cockroaches but can kill them (that’s me). People who hate cockroaches but who can’t kill them (they are admittedly messy when crushed. That would be my daughter). And finally, people who are quite indifferent to roaches and probably would be able to eat them. That would be my husband, who has already eaten silkworms, tarantulas and mopani worms, so he is well on his way.

Cover of The insect cookbook: Food for a sustainable planet

But if you are only going to brave reading one book on insect eating, make it The Insect Cookbook. Be warned though, bugs are surprisingly hard to conceal in food and the photo of the maggoty cheese and a child eating a mealworm ice cream cone made me feel decidedly queasy. I made the mistake of reading this book on my daily café treat, maybe don’t do that if this is all new to you. But what really sets this book apart is that it is accompanied by excellent research articles on insect eating like Chef Pierre Wind’s essay: “You Have to Eat Away the Fear.”

Finally, if you are sensitive about what you eat, What’s Eating You is a brilliantly researched, hilarious, horrifying book about all the parasites that you host. As a result of this book, I have removed Equatorial Guinea from my “places to visit” bucket list. There it is possible for a person to be infected with a Guinea Worm which, when fully grown to three feet, bursts from your skin and has to be wound out daily using a stick. The book explains how to do this – with beautiful little diagrams.

You are what you eat” is about to take on a whole new meaning. Get ahead of the pack. Read these books.