Eating Bugs the New Craze?

MealwormsOver the years we have seen our fare share of diets and food crazes. Cannot say that we have seen eating bugs as a foodie craze before, but apparently it is starting to happen.

From the NY Times

Ms. Miller and other American entrepreneurs in this field believe protein-rich insects, and crickets in particular, are poised to ignite a quinoa-like food craze.

There are nearly 2,000 types of edible insects, but Ms. Miller decided to cook with crickets, partly for the practical reason that they were already being commercially farmed in the United States. And while roasted worms have a nutty flavor, the creatures tend to trip Americans’ gag reflex. Crickets, on the other hand, are associated with “pleasant summer nights and crickets chirping,” Ms. Miller says.

A 2013 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that extolled insects’ potential to help stabilize the global food supply, in fact, helped propel the edible-insect industry forward.

After the report came out, “all of a sudden there were a ton of people who were superinterested in edible bugs,” says Kevin Bachhuber, who in May started Big Cricket Farms in Youngstown, Ohio.

So what do you think? Could eating bugs become a foodie experience for you? Have you eaten bugs before? What was that experience like?

Does Eating Bugs Make You Smarter?

Apparently Eating Bugs Can Make You SmarterYou might not have been thinking about this one today, we honestly were not either. But scientists have come out with some studies that have us thinking. Scientists who apparently have little else to do suggest that mankind, in our primitive years benefited cognitively from having to hunt for bugs to eat.

Seriously..

Lead author Amanda D. Melin, assistant professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, says:

“Our work suggests that digging for insects when food was scarce may have contributed to hominid cognitive evolution and set the stage for advanced tool use.”

Writing in the Journal of Human Evolution, Prof. Melin and colleagues report how they came to this conclusion after studying capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica, for 5 years.

They say their findings support the idea of a link between the need to innovate new ways to forage for insects and other well-hidden and buried foods, and the development of manual dexterity, problem solving and use of tools.

In their study, they were able to observe how the foraging patterns of the monkeys changed as the seasons influenced their food supplies. The study is thought to be the first to provide this kind of evidence directly from the wild as opposed to laboratory observations.

Prof. Melin has been studying the visual and foraging ecology of white-faced capuchins in the tropical forests of Costa Rica since 2004. She says with their small bodies and large brains they make excellent models for seeing how brain size and intelligence may have evolved.

She explains how they found the capuchin monkeys ate embedded insects all year round but this type of feeding intensified in seasons when their preferred food source – ripe fruit – became less abundant.

“Accessing hidden and well-protected insects living in tree branches and under bark is a cognitively demanding task, but provides a high-quality reward: fat and protein, which is needed to fuel big brains,” she adds.

“These results suggest embedded insects are an important fallback food,” she notes.

Read More at “Did eating bugs make our early ancestors more intelligent?