Ever since we started to promote entomophagy (eating insects) in the Netherlands, we have received tremendous interest from the public at large. Not being accustomed to eating insects, people were curious about this new food source, in particular considering the major challenge of producing sufficient animal protein for a rapidly increasing population on our planet—expected to reach 9 billion people in 2050.
Because of the environmental benefits of insects as a new protein source, we often heard, “When do you expect that insects will be available in the supermarket?” This possibility became a reality in 2008, when Dutch companies started to produce insects for human consumption. Then, of course, the question was: How do you cook the insects? As a response, we produced Het Insectenkookboek (The Insect Cookbook) in Dutch. This book provides not only recipes, but also examples of insects being eaten all over the globe: which insects, where, and why. Moreover, the book contains interviews with chefs, politicians, and food designers. This English version of the book is updated and contains new interviews: with Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, and René Redzepi, who is considered to be one of the best chefs in the world. The recipes can be made at home by any amateur cook interested in new cuisine. The insect ingredients are three species that are available through the Internet for human consumption:
♦ Migratory locusts (Locusta migratoria). Locusts are grasshopper species that under favorable circumstances develop into migratory and gregarious animals. The wingless larvae form marching bands, and the winged adults migrate in huge swarms.
♦ Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), larvae of flour beetles.
♦ Buffalo worms (Alphitobius diaperinus), also larvae of flour beetles, resembling the yellow mealworm but smaller.
The issue of entomophagy will be addressed during an international conference in May 2014, organized by Wageningen University in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This will certainly not be the last development; it is likely that, in 2024, we will look back and wonder why insects were not yet frequently on the menu back in 2014. We hope that this book will contribute to that development. After all, feeding a rapidly growing human population is a serious issue.