Let’s face it: We’re probably going to have to eat bugs one day if we want to remain on this planet. Many have a low feed conversion ratio, love being packed in confined spaces (thereby eliminating the particular ethical concerns of factory farming), and are, according to some, delicious. Bugs (including insects, worms, arachnids) most likely comprise the largest animal terrestrial biomass on the planet, and by not tapping into it, we in the West (and away from the Equator), are just being big babies deferring to habit and reinforcing a not very well reasoned culinary taboo. Get over your damn self and eat a bug!
This is is what we believed, at least, when we entered Brooklyn Kitchen on Thursday for the “Bugsgiving Banquet Dinner” that was part of the three-day Brooklyn Bugs food festival. Well, Rich believed it, having read Daniella Martin’s Edible to psych himself up for the event. Megan did this because the apocalypse is her favorite season, and she would love nothing more than to be ready to feed her family and loved ones when the world ends.
The gourmet meal, prepared by chefs David George Gordon and Joseph Yoon, ended up comprised of 15 different bug-spotlighting dishes. We figured something so ornate and taste-focused was a good way of easing into the apocalypse, whetting our appetites for the imminent days when we will have to catch roaches ourselves and down them, hoping for the best. It seemed like this would be a total walk in the park.
It was not a walk in the park.
While there were some dishes that went down no problem—mealworm fritters and, surprisingly, Manchurian scorpion on lotus root chips (kind of like bland, unpeeled shrimp or particularly flavorful toenails)—others were a big fucking problem. With all due respect to everyone who ever existed, we did not know we would be confronted with a bowl full of savory cranberry relish with a bunch of dead cockroaches lying back down, legs up strewn around the bowl. Or that we’d be expected to eat them. That’s so much. They taste like blue cheese, which Rich hates in the first place, and even more when the source of said taste is a cockroach!
One thing that irritates us a little about entomophagists is how they are prone to pretending that every single bug they dig out of the grown and plop on their tongues is the most delicious thing they could possibly eat. (See: Andreas Johnsen’s 2016 Bugs doc, which is streaming on Netflix.) That was not our experience at all. Some were fine—crickets we could eat all damn day like it’s nothing. They’re all crunch, little flavor. Giant grasshoppers? Well, now you’re pushing it. The video above captures our foray into entomophagy in what we hope is an honest and direct package. Yes, we still believe that eating bugs is the future and that we might as well get started now, but wow is it a big idea to get used to.
Here’s the night’s menu, in case you’re curious. The ice cream with cricket granola was the best.
Senior Producers: Jennifer Perry and Tracy Thompson. Creative Producer: Joon Chung. Associate Producer: Kayra Clouden. DP: Andrew Maso.