In Western civilisation, we find it obvious not to eat food with pests. The pests are considered a contamination of the food and are looked upon with disgust. This might be odd when considering that we accept relatives to the insects such as crayfish, lobsters and shrimps as delicacies.
The unwillingness most of us have to eating beetles, ants and larvae is most likely neither original nor well motivated. Our ancestors lived as gatherers for many years, and then insects were a part of the menu. Insects are filled with nutrients and proteins. Today people who live as gatherers have their own methods to distinguish between insects which are healthy to eat from the insects that should be avoided. These peoples’ health and food habits are much more satisfying than those of the millions of poor workers in this world who eat little and of little vary. Today we know the names of more than 1600 types of insects which are eaten around the world.
It is probably only in Europe and Northern America that the population as a whole is well supplied with other kinds of animal food. This is the reason why, we do not eat insects. To make up for this, the English Vincent M. Holt wrote a book in 1885 with the title “Why not eat insects”. In the preface, he asks the question: “Why not – instead of fighting the insects – just let them come to us and we shall eat them up”. According to Mr. Holt, it seems silly to let a single caterpillar, found in a boiled cauliflower, ruin a meal for many people, when it could just a s easily be served as a tasty and healthy side dish. In his book, he has many suggestions on how to eat insects as a part of a healthy meal. Now, after more than a hundred years, it is safe to say that his ideas never really broke through to the broad public in Western civilisation.