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.

13 thoughts on “Cockroach cuisine

  1. bibliobishi 3 March 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Gaah! Roberta I was coping quite well considering,with your critterish blog until you took me to New Guinea and things bursting forth from the skin…………..my skin will never be the same.

    • robertafsmith 3 March 2016 / 1:46 pm

      Man Up Bibliobishi! Read the book – it will give you many more body parts to worry about!

  2. Mo-mo 3 March 2016 / 12:43 pm

    I shouldn’t be reading this at lunchtime. I’m simultaneously hungry and a bit grossed out. Luckily the paleo-dieters may have found a partial solution to the problem of having to eat things made out of bugs but not wanting to look at them – apparently a number of producers now supply flour made out of bugs, so perhaps we can all dine on cockroach cupcakes with sensibilities intact?
    Mind you, for anyone who’s watched Snowpiercer, there’s a somewhat revolting post-apocalyptic, science fiction precedence in place.

    • robertafsmith 3 March 2016 / 1:42 pm

      Yes, and I believe there is also insect pasta – at least you can’t see the little creepy shapes poking out of your salad that way. Eating insects is the kiss of death to slow cooking – everything is cooked very quickly – and looking right at you!

  3. Helen 3 March 2016 / 1:06 pm

    Well sat down to read your blog with a large bowl of pasta on my lap!,, this blog should start with a Warning ! DoNo Eat and Read at The same Time, Coming from Durban I can relate to killing cockroaches, Durban being the Mecca for them! As to eating them, No way, hopefully the vegetarians have sorted out something by 2066, and I’ll go that route thanks.

  4. robertafsmith 3 March 2016 / 1:40 pm

    HaHa, I did think of prefacing it with a spoiler alert! By the way, there is insect pasta – quite easily available. That might be the way to go!

  5. robertafsmith 3 March 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Another delightful little book, hot off the press, is “Crap Kitchen” with recipes like: Mouse Kebabs and Yak Penis. The library has a copy!

  6. karenbccl 3 March 2016 / 3:10 pm

    Watched a docu a few years back where a line of young men had to have the Guinea Worm wound out with the aid of a stick. Slow process and something I haven’t dwelt on in a long time – thanks for the memories!

  7. Rev.JC 4 March 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Great article it is very true how we will have to begin to eat insects. Thanks for the reality insight.
    Rev. JC

  8. ValerieL 4 March 2016 / 4:36 pm

    Hi Roberta, I think eating certain bugs would be a kind of payback for all the misery they have inflicted upon me over the years. My top five dishes would be:
    1 – Sand-fly pie
    2 – Mosquitoes on toast
    3 – Roasted bed-ants
    4 – Cream of cricket soup
    5 – Grasshopper ravioli

    • robertafsmith 4 March 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Love this Valerie, but what have grasshoppers ever done to spoil a Valerie Day?

      • ValerieL 6 March 2016 / 9:55 pm

        Roberta, have you ever experienced grasshoppers in plague quantities?

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