This I Believe
I believe in having a passion, even your passion puts you in the distinct minority in this country. In 2001 I realized how much sense insects made as a food source, and since that time, my life has been both fun and frustrating. I just love seeing the looks on people’s faces just before they eat their first whole insect – usually a cricket – and then the looks after they’ve done it. “Hey,” they usually say, “that’s pretty good!” I’ve been hearing that more often since my cooking techniques have slowly improved.
I’ve served insects to the public many times now, and I tell the people: insects can be a real food source, and not just for reality show contestants; billions of people still eat insects when other foods are available; insects would be the best way to end world hunger. Those who’ve come for the workshop get ready for a new experience, and a real energy builds up in the room, and not just among the kids. Sometimes we go out into adjacent fields and collect our own grasshoppers and crickets, to cook them up later. Sometimes there’s newspaper coverage, which will usually include a tired pun or wise-crack. But “entomophagy,” which is the fancy terms for insect-eating, is not a word that easily rolls of the lips.
I spend my free time emailing experts and regular folks who might be able to help the cause. I’ve received small amounts of dried caterpillars from Zimbabwe, grasshoppers from Mexico, and scorpions in honey from China. But it’s been a lonely road; emails and phone calls go unanswered, and those I thought were my partners don’t come through. Those are the frustrating parts. At times I run out of energy, and little projects fall to the side. And then something will happen that wakes me up again: it can be an article in a magazine, or learning that I’m not the only one who gives this kind of workshop at nature centers and natural history museums, at libraries and schools.
You could say that I’m living on faith: faith that some people will just “get it,” and understand that the world is a changing place. After all, people didn’t eat much sushi or tofu when I was a kid, and now they’re quite popular. I believe that many people embrace new things, and like to surprise themselves. Being part of that moment is… well, it’s kind of amazing. But I have many miles to go.
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