Eating Bugs Becoming More Acceptable in the West

Eating Bugs Becoming More Acceptable in the West

Food & Drink

Eating Bugs Becoming More Acceptable in the West


The arrival of a couple of new cookbooks may signal a new era in Western cuisine. The voluntary consumption of insects is perhaps on the verge of becoming a mini trend.

“The Insect Cookbook” recently hit bookstores in the Netherlands. The book includes simple and fun recipes for creations such as chocolate muffin with worms and mushroom risotto garnished with grasshoppers. It’s said to be the world’s first illustrated book dedicated to cooking with insects in a gourmet attitude.

The author, Marcel Dicke, a professor at Wageningen University, is not at all bugged by the idea of eating insects. “I see this as the next step towards the introduction of insects on restaurant menus in the Netherlands,” Dicke says. “I also expect people to buy the book and start cooking insects at home.” Dicke is among the most respected figures in entomology, and considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in the field.

The Dutch are apparently well ahead of Americans in this regard. A handful of restaurants in the Netherland already are serving dishes that feature bugs in the recipe.

However, the U.S. has just recently officially included insects in the category of edible animals, encouraging their consumption.

“The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook,” by David George Gordon, came out a few years back and features recipes for preparing dishes with crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, termites, ants and bees. Unlike Dicke’s work, Gordon’s cookbook is humorous rather than culinary. “There is plenty of serious information in there,” says Gordon. “There are in-depth essays in each section but the recipes are tongue-in-cheek. I wanted it to be a parody of high-end cookbooks.”

Here’s a sampling of recipes from the book:

  • Three Bee Salad – “This non-traditional salad combines the best of the bee world: the vitamin-rich larvae, plus the high protein adult bees”
  • Scorpion Scaloppine – This recipe comes with special scorpion handling tips.
  • Curried Termite Stew – “If you are ordering termites by mail, request workers, which are a bit smaller than soldiers but lack the ability to bite back.”

Here’s a short video from TIME magazine that features an interview with David George Gordon, and a demonstration of how to cook scorpion.


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