Eating Bugs

Researchers are hoping to create a cultural context for eating insects and, in turn, helping to save the environment.

A team of scientists, researchers, a nutritionist, and a chef laid out a picnic blanket on the grassy lawn of Einstein’s Garden in Brecon Beacons, Wales. No, this isn’t the beginning to a joke—it was the premise for the Bug Banquet held at the Green Man Festival in late August. There was no risk of insects overrunning lunch—the bugs were lunch.

“You get kids and adults coming up to some insect food or live insects, and normally somebody will go, ‘Eww!’ ” said Charlotte Payne, a research associate in the department of population health at the University of Oxford, who helped organized the event. But those initial visceral reactions quickly get turned on their head thanks to peer pressure. “The other people react by going, ‘Don’t be silly. Just try it,’ ” she continued. The respective roles of grossed-out and goader were evenly split between the some 5,000 children and adults who chowed down on grasshopper brownies and cricket fudge between performances by Father John Misty and St. Vincent.

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