Do a Google search on the phrase “food insect,” and you will get hundreds of responses, such as links to blogs with recipes for oatmeal, worm cookies; newsletters with directions for freezing cicadas; a U.N. report arguing that people should include more insects in their diets.
Entomophagy: the practice of eating insects. They can be baked with creamy peanut butter and cocoa powder, sautéed with a little lemon and butter, or grounded into a protein bar. And, insect enthusiasts argue they are delicious, nutritious and good for the planet.
Tucson native, Pat Crowley, founded Chapul Bars, a company that makes protein bars using 100 percent ground cricket powder.
The former water conservationist first became interested in food insects after hearing a TED talk on the subject.
“It is just a game changer when it comes to water use versus protein output,” Crowley said. (Eating insects) “makes sense environmentally, economically, and nutritionally. The only barrier is a psychological one. So I decided to start a company to get over that barrier.”
Indeed, most of the world eats insects on purpose. And foodies, according to Janos Wilder, chef and owner of popular Tucson restaurant Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails said fried grasshoppers are “terrific.” In his travels to Mexico, he has dined on crickets and on ant eggs.
“You will find that, in cultures that aren’t as wealthy, you use everything," Wilder said. " Just like in beef and meat now, you are seeing that it is snout to tail. You try to use the whole animal because it is more economical. It is also much more sustainable. Its much less wasteful.”
Already, Chapul Bars are being sold around the world and in several locations in Arizona, such as Rocks and Ropes.
Listen to the radio version of this story from Arizona Spotlight: