Chocolate dipped locusts and critter omelettes: Prepare for a life without meat… by eating insects instead
We threw up
For every revelation, idea and invention that is born in the modest surroundings of cheap student housing, there are inevitably numerous experiments that end in disaster.
We’ll let you to decide which our adventure into entomophagy can be labelled as.
That is the practice of eating insects, arachnids and myriapods. Cheap yet nutritious, isn’t that any students dream?
For one night only, we cheated on meat and opted for 20 grams of grubs instead.
We purchased 12 grams of critters – a mix of silkworms, bamboo worms and crickets – and eight grams of chocolate dipped locusts. Each cost £5 and could easily provide a few dinners.
From this we whipped up a pair of omelettes, rammed pack with eggs, butter, cheese and a healthy swarm of so-called vermin.
Meat is expensive, despite the fact we bought cheese from Waitrose, and the search for an alternative to our love affair with meat has quite naturally led us to entomophagy.
Besides, surely most people would be much more comfortable with the idea that something evil like Shelob had been killed instead of something cute like Bambi?
After spending an evening trying what the United Nations believes to be a viable substitute for our favourite meaty dishes, we are decidedly against the idea of incorporating creepy-crawlies into our diets.
Instead, if we run out of meaty goodness, it looks like it’s a hellish lifestyle of tofu, sunflower seeds and hemp for us.
You can’t make an omelette without burning a few locusts, so after labouring in the kitchen for a good hour we were ready for our four-course gourmet dinner.
Now, having expected scenes reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, we were pleasantly surprised with how quaint our meal for two actually was.
Bowls of baked and fried critters, dishes of insect omelette, and thoughtfully placed in the middle of the makeshift table, a collection of chocolate-covered locusts.
Wine poured, lights dimmed and pleasantries exchanged; like history’s other intrepid explorers, we began our descent into the heart of darkness, our naïve innocence soon to be lost.
Despite wings protruding from its delicate surface, the omelette went down well with hardly a taste of the insects.
The fried and oven-baked crickets and worms weren’t too bad either.
The Locusts though were a worry. Before either of us moved to the irresistibly smooth chocolate coated locusts George had to finish his half of the omelette.
No one should be blamed for what followed, but it was hard not to think about what we were doing to ourselves while George nibbled his way slowly through the remainder of his half of the insect omelette.
This contemplation, it turns out, was a big mistake.
Omelettes done, with a satisfied palette and comfortable stomachs… or not. There were two oven-baked locusts with our names on.
No more thoughts, thoughts were bad, it was time for Alex to be a man of action, a churning stomached action man some might say.
How to eat a locust like Alex May in 3 easy steps:
Grab Locust. Throw it into your mouth. Bite down.
Hear your own molar crunching down on its skull.
Spend the next 5 minutes viewing your own stomach contents.
At this point you would be forgiven for thinking our article was finished and we would have to return to Tab with our tails between our legs. But George had other ideas.
They say that greatness can be forged from adversity and this was just the case when George battled down his gag reflex and proceeded to casually blast his way through the tapas, like the Hero from any Greek tragedy.
With his comrade a casualty, it was almost vengeful the way he savagely attacked the meal, a man possessed with a mad dream and spectacularly large kahunas.
Being sick was not at all the fault of the insect itself. None of the tastes described above were that unpleasant and texturally they had a brittle crunchiness that was distinctive but not offensive.
The real reason for the vomit was entirely psychological; we’re conditioned to view insects as pests and of signs of uncleanliness.
This was most likely the reason why, when in the omelette and barely visible the nausea stayed at bay.
We’ve been conditioned to prefer meat, despite creepy crawlies holding some real eco-friendly and healthy benefits.
However the more our minds churned over the fact that these were actual insects in our mouths, the more our minds became our worst enemies.