Sciency Words: Entomophagy (Dining on Mars, Part 3)

Today’s post is a special combination post, continuing my Dining on Mars series and also my regularly scheduled Sciency Words series. Today’s new and interesting science or science-related term is:

ENTOMOPHAGY

When humanity finally makes it to Mars, we might not be going alone. We may end up bringing some insects with us.

To be clear, this wouldn’t be an accidental thing. No, we’d be bringing our insect friends on purpose. Why?

The word entomophagy comes from two Greek words meaning “insect” and “to eat,” and it refers to the practice of eating insects.

Personally, I’m not too keen on becoming an entomophage, but that has more to do with my cultural background than anything else. In many parts of the world that are not the United States or Western Europe, entomophagy is quite normal, and in the near future it may become an important means of feeding a growing global population.

But insects-as-food may be even more important for feeding the early colonial population of Mars. That’s because efficiency is the key to surviving on Mars, and insects make for an extremely efficient food souce. They don’t require a lot of room or resources compared to other sources of animal protein, and when you eat them very little goes to waste. I’m told with some species you’re supposed to remove the wings before cooking, but otherwise the entire insect body is edible.

Apparently insect flavors can vary a lot from species to species, and sometimes depend on what the insects ate themselves. I’ve heard certain species described as “nutty” or “lemony” or even “minty.” Others have more meat-like flavors. According to this article from bugible.com, giant water bugs taste like salted banana, and sago grubs taste a little like bacon. And pan-fried crickets with soy sauce taste amazing, or so I’m told.

Actually, after writing this post I’m feeling a bit hungry. Maybe I could get used to entomophagy after all. Anyone care to join me for lunch?

12 Responses to Sciency Words: Entomophagy (Dining on Mars, Part 3)

  1. I’ve had fried crickets. They were surprisingly yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Max says:

    Very cool. Unfortunately, I know this word.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Morris says:

    I clicked “like” reluctantly. I wonder if the disgust we feel about eating insects is purely cultural. Dislike of insects goes pretty deep. Lord of the Flies. The Biblical plagues. Then again, everyone loves butterflies, so who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I see your point. There is something fundamentally revolting about seeing a big cockroach skittering around, and the idea of putting something like that in your mouth is just… ick.

      And yet in other parts of the world, people eat these things and don’t seem to think anything of it. I don’t know, maybe human beings can just get used to anything, or maybe cooking and presentation is key. I remember my grandfather really loved chocolate covered ants; but without the chocolate, somehow I doubt he would’ve found them so palatable.

      Like

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