What disgusts you about the 21st century

Eating Insects: Why We Should Stop Being Disgusted

As a modern person of the 21st century, what else can you say than: Isn't it great what the brain is capable of? But there are always those moments when you want a break from your head. That helps in love. Or with food. Example? Please: eat maggots? Me, calls the brain. Eat shrimp? Approving silence up there.

Finland's leading insect chef has a solution

Now what happens when someone says: insects are the future? Topi Kairenius is Finland's leading insect cook. He tours all over Europe and gives lectures at universities and at food events. His message: The growing hunger of the world should be satisfied with animal protein in a sustainable and climate-friendly way. In his opinion, around 40 percent of the meat we eat can (and will!) Be replaced by other foods in the next 20 years, including insects.

Beetles & Co. could meet the protein needs of the entire population

Topis recipe pool includes falafel made from mealworm powder, sweet potato soup with dried ants, grasshoppers marinated in honey and vinegar, deep-fried and served with a ginger-lemongrass paste. "A great bar snack," as the Finn says. Ugh spider, reply most of the normal meat eaters he talks to. But the whole thing is just a head problem, says the cook.

Our disgust for insects is based on culture

With maggots, beetles and crawling animals on the plate, our brain spontaneously reports disgust to us without being asked. "We don't have access to insects as food," says Topi. Culturally conditioned. "But that's not logical: we eat oysters, but maggots don't go at all. What's the difference?"

Well, if he asks like this: Pretty alone cannot pass as a criterion for delicious, because mealworms and the inside of a mussel are not so aesthetically pleasing. Crayfish (oh, yummie!) And grasshoppers (mhm!) Look pretty similar fresh from the pan, in the semi-darkness of a fine restaurant, under a bit of salad and after the first two glasses of Chardonnay. And has anyone ever looked at the barnacles in daylight? So please! It's the ugliest delicacy you can imagine - and people pay 150 euros a kilo, fishermen risk their lives for it.

Maggots, ants, grasshoppers: the delicacies of the future?

Mealworms, on the other hand, cost next to nothing and can be grown almost anywhere with absolutely no risk. They also do not have any particular demands on their diet. Topi Kairenius, who runs a brewery in Helsinki in addition to his insect boiler, has a small farm between the brewhouse and fermentation tanks for very interesting experiments: single-hop mealworms. Shortly before the “harvest” (you have to eat mealworms at a certain point in their development, or at least freeze, deep-fry or grind them into flour, otherwise they turn into beetles and they don't taste good) he feeds the worms dried hop cones of certain varieties. The aroma passes into the worm meat. Beer connoisseurs can actually taste differences in the worm snacks made from them.

Beer with little worms: Kairenius makes the topic accessible through beer

What at first sounds super nerdy and more than just a little bit crazy is actually pretty ingenious: Topi Kairenius has created a low-threshold access to the subject of insects through beer. He gives "Beer and Bugs" tastings. Everyone likes beer, of course. And then a crispy, well-seasoned worm to go with it - oh, why not?

The idea of ​​"Beer and Bugs" is also great because beer also helps to gently lull the brain and silence it. Once you have a pleasant calm in your head, your stomach is ready to embrace something new.

Try insects with us too: Pesto with buffalo worms or grasshoppers in dark chocolate can be tried, for example, at selected street food markets in Vienna or ordered directly online from ZIRP Insects. At FOOD INSECTS you can find recipes, interesting facts and an overview of insect cooking courses nearby.

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