Monday, May 12, 2014

Just how would Julia Child prepare grubs?

"Hello, and welcome to The French Chef. Today we're going to prepare beetles bourdelaise." Okay, she probably wouldn't have gone there.

Ars Technica has an article on an Icelander who has come up with a method of growing insects for food. Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson, talking to Wired.UK, noted that he's making pâté from black soldier flies. Yum.

The process works like this:
A glassed-in box contains Black Soldier Flies, which are fed on organic waste —the everyday vegetable and meat cuttings you'd dump in your food bin (though Aðalsteinsson is researching whether seaweed can also do the trick). The greedy flies become rich in fat and protein, says Aðalsteinsson, and then they can be "harvested for human consumption". Their waste produces a "nutrient-rich soil" that is drained into compost canisters to be used in spice production. Spicy. "This idea of a wasteless production will hopefully inspire others to rethink linear production, which produces great amounts of waste and unused byproducts," Aðalsteinsson explains.
Sitting across the dinner table, the resident scientist wondered if flies fed on garbage would have the same problems as pigs fed on garbage, that is, picking up pathogens. Admittedly, we're not going to see flies become hosts to the trichina worm, and the flies (unlike pork) get pureed, but there are other, smaller things.

I was more concerned with Aðalsteinsson's pâtés, which were all cracked on top. Julia would not approve and neither do I. No amount of aspic is going to rescue these.

Aðalsteinsson notes,
"I think food is highly dependent on trust and when you make new types of food you have to make people believe in it. My inspiration for the fly factory came from the industrial kitchen. They just look so robust and you really believe they will keep on working for a long time. Another big element is to embrace the existing food culture. Western society is dependent upon processed food and I am not about to change that with one project. So rather than fighting an existing culture I made processed insect food."
Me, I'm not so sure I want to look at the industrial kitchen as a model. I understand it's efficient, but I just wonder if more processed food is the answer.

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