Posts Tagged ‘chapul’

From Cringe to Crave… Video of my Ignite presentation, with alternate ending…

October 22, 2014

A few weeks ago, I went onstage at the High Noon Saloon to deliver an Ignite presentation (20 slides in 5 minutes) on the theme of “Attainable Sustainable.” I spoke very quickly about how I overcome my aversion to eating a very attainable and sustainable (but not commonly appreciated) food…

IgniteEric_CringetoCrave2

 

I think it turned out pretty well. I had a lot to cram in there, and there was way more left out than put in. I’ve been writing a lot about entomophagy recently. (My first draft was over an hour long.)

Also, my last slide (slide #20) did not make it. In the moment, I panicked thinking I miscounted my slides, so I ended abruptly. But I didn’t miscount. My slides were cut short due to a technical issue with the computer.

So in the spirit of a Quantum-Leap/Back-To-The-Future-type ambition to put right what once went wrong, I will go through how I would have wanted it to end.

Image 7SLIDE 19

…Now I encourage you all to take your own journeys. Because eating bugs is not so weird, most of the world already does it. And it’s sustainable and paleo, and kosher, and gluten free, and no more grosser than many things we eat now.

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And there are now bars with cricket protein, and a cricket flour you can bake with, and resources with the Eat-a-Bug Cookbook and Daniella Martin’s Edible.

It’s just a matter over that cultural aversion. As with a lot of things we wouldn’t normally do–like karaoke, giving an Ignite presentations–a little alcohol helps

I wanted to conclude by making clear that there are way more palatable edible insect foods out there now than what I made with my own cooking, like energy bars from Exo and Chapul, savory snacks from Don Bugito,  candies from Hotlix, and cool flour and baked goods from Bitty Foods.

Many thanks to the folks at Ignite and Sustain Dane for putting together such a cool night of folks talking sustainability from a variety of fun and unique angles. Check them all out here.

And also thanks to Cheri Schweitzer, top-notch Madison restaurant consultant of Credible Consulting, food safety expert, and instructor for WWBIC’s very worthwhile “Business Planning for Your Food Business,” who recommended I try to do this thing.

I was in the news over the weekend…

September 2, 2014

Over the weekend, The Capital Times published an article from a long, rambling conversation I had with food/culture reporter Lindsay Christians

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Cap Times also put together a pretty cool image gallery for the few items I brought in. Lindsay was game to try the cookies, Cricket Canape, and Cricket Leather (the last 2 from Daniella Martin’s Edible). The Superworm Tempura (from David George Gordon’s great Eat-A-Bug Coookbook) although pretty awesome-tasting when freshly fried, had become a tepid room temperature. She understandably resisted the urge to try those.

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Photo credit: Mike DeVries

Apart from wishing I still had my beard for the picture, I think it turned out pretty well. Although I’m not too comfortable with the title “entomophagist.”

Also, when she asked, “You said earlier that there are “so many good reasons” to eat bugs. Can you explain some?”

I responded, “Definitely environmental and nutritional reasons,” and then I go down a rabbit hole of feed conversion rates and agriculture stats to elaborate on the environmental benefits.

The “nutritional reasons” I spoke to in my overlong response were not included in the article. Although I’ve written about some of these benefits in previous posts (“Sustainable Paleo” and “No Mad Mealworm Disease“), I’ll add here the awesome table published in the UN Insect Food and Feed Report comparing the protein content of the most common edible insects and reptiles to that of cattle (as well as lobster, shrimp, and prawns).

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Pound for pound, crickets, termites, silkworms, cicadas, and grasshoppers have equivalent offerings for protein to the red meat gold standard.

The UN report also has numbers on amino acid profiles, which also compare nicely.

Bonus: Where insects have comparable amounts of protein and amino acid offerings, the have comparably less–and even minimal–saturated fat. You can check out chapter 6 for all the details…http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e00.htm

But, whateves. I do go on. I’m surprised how comprehensible the interview did come out, given how prone I am to digression. Admittedly, I was a little out of it from the bug party I hosted the night before.

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Post-interview, mid-hangover selfie 

Some mentions were included for a lot of the folks and groups who have helped me so far in just the very early thinking and planning for a edible insect business, including…

Unfortunately, some important folks who have helped this along weren’t mentioned…and that may be their preference when it comes to a bug-eating article. Nonetheless, I’ll mention them here because they’re awesome.

  • Cheri Schweitzer, top-notch Madison restaurant consultant of Credible Consulting, food safety expert, and instructor for WWBIC’s very worthwhile “Business Planning for Your Food Business” whose Facebook post about trying some cricket cookies got the media attention that prompted the interview.
  • The Evening MBA Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in particular, the class of 2015, who have all been surprisingly game with the idea of a US entomophagy business and have provided thoughtful input and only occasional jokes.

And to my good friends and “very supportive” girlfriend who have bravely tried my few insect food experiments. Hopefully, they’ll get better. I’ll soon have a few pounds of homegrown mealworm to deal with.

Seriously, I need a brave, open-minded chef/food expert. Anyone know any?

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My attempt at chocolate-covered crix were kind of a mess…

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but the superworm tempura were awesomepants.

Why Eat Bugs #5: Apocalypse-Avoidance

August 7, 2014

download (2) In Daniella Martin’s hip treatise for eating bugs, Edible, she imagines a fantasy fast food restaurant where in addition to what you order, you also get the by-products of what it took to make your order. So when you get your burger, you also get…

  • 1,000 gallons of contaminated water
  • 4lbs of manure
  • The carbon residue from the use of 1 gallon of gas
  • 200 cubic ft of a feed lot that will take years to restore

Topped that off with a large toxic methane plume. Want to change your order? A McRib would also get you…

  • 600 gallons of contaminated water
  • 5lbs of pig shit
  • Smaller methane plume

Finally, a McNuggets 10-piece comes with…

  • 150 gallons of contaminated water
  • 1lb of feces
  • Less methane

This is all to say that our daily food choices have a significant environmental impact we do not appreciate.  And of course conventional animal protein production overall adds up to a huge impact on our land and water…

With a population set to grow almost 30% in the next 35 years, we’re going to need to double current food production (according to UN estimates). Not only is there not enough land to support this increase, the ecological impact to already-limited water resources would be devastating. Like Mad-Max-post-apocalyptic-water-wars-type devastating. mad-max What if we could increase food production while decreasing the environmental impact to land and water? Large-scale insect farming could be that solution. Although the exact numbers on the water to raise insects in a farm setting are unavailable (but Youngstown’s Big Cricket Farms may soon have answers…), it can be assumed they would be significantly lower. Consider the drought-resistance of mealworms and crickets. And consider Pat Crowley, a water conservationist who came up with his cricket energy bars—Chapul—to show how a protein source could be produced using minimal water resources. See their neat chart (and order some bars…Mark Cuban has…). waterconservationdiagram

 

Awesome chart by Nick Hiebert at the University of Manitoba

 

 

And then consider land use. Crickets don’t need to be grown on the prairie, and perhaps it may be more risky to due to pesticide exposure. It’s already been shown the advantages of urban honey production. Insect husbandry may be a way to reclaim abandoned industrial and urban spaces. Tiny Farms has already designed and offers cricket farming structures you can setup in your own garage–and who knows, eventually in multi-story cricket protein production facilities.563946_orig BONUS: Instead taking all the corn we’re so great at overproducing and putting it into obesity-  and diabetes-inducing high fructose corn syrup, it can be fed to protein-enriching crickets who are efficient corn-processing machines.

So perhaps when you order your McCricket of the future  (or of the now if you’re in NYC), you can avoid the methane plume, walk off with a fraction of the water. Don’t know about the cricket poop. Yet. Grasshopper Slider.jpg