1000 Gallons, Safeco Field, Japan discussed on Living on Earth
But yet hardly ever do We remark on the fact that it's an insect secretion that comes from Whole interesting array of locations a world away. So you write in your book that should lack is not the only insect produced substance that we're eating regularly. Another whole chapter. You write about the cochineal bugs, which people crush up to make a red dye food coloring. Can you tell us more about that? Sure so, like silk and shellac, the other tube commodities I focus on in the book. Cochineal has an ancient history that goes way back to peruse Baraka's culture. The Aztecs and Mayans produce cochineal and we've got records of Montezuma, the second taking Cocina bags, tribute from his subjects and the way it's made is again. It's the females who are doing all the work. There's a theme here. The female insect bodies are crushed to produce this Carmine Red dye and the insects are raised on no Paul can act. I they dine on the sweet juices the inside of the cactus. And then the female raises her young surrounded by kind of a downy secretion. But then it takes about 70,000 female insect bodies to produce a £1 brick of dried coach and you'll die. When Europeans came across this in 15 hundreds after the Spanish conquest of the Americas, they just couldn't get enough of it. Because there's tremendous fixative properties. It doesn't bleed away and it creates a whole host of brilliant colors. You can combine cochineal with more dense that are basically different types of metals to produce. Deep sort of Corinthian purple hues, and you can produce these really bright scarlet reds and, of course for ecclesiastical vestments and royal robes. Europeans wanted red, the color virility in Christ's blood. And so once they got their hands on this new source of red dye, it became the second most lucrative traded product in the Spanish empire after only silver And today it's made a resurgence and is used as a safe food coloring for all sorts of things from candy to fake crab legs to specialty cocktails. It's in everything, sausages, you name it. It has a cochineal. And part of the reason for this is that many of the substitutes for these natural products that people came up with after the Second World War turned out to be toxic. So cochineal has made a comeback just like shellac and silk, in part because of the failures of substitution, and I talked about that quite extensively in the book. You know, For many Westerners, the idea of purposefully eating bugs can be, you know, kind of off putting, but you write that many people. Most people are actually already eating insects and not just in cochineal and shellac as we've talked about, But in a lot of other ways, Can you give us some examples? Sure, so right now on the planet, about two billion people on a regular basis, eat insects. It's just a part of their regular daily diet. Almost every world culture some insect dish that's central to their food culture in Japan, eating Zaza Mushi, which are riverbed harvested larvae is very common. Bundang G and South Korea are silkworm Cuba. I've eaten those and they taste a little like a cross between a peanut and the shrimp. I'd say it was The strange but interesting new taste experience in Mexico chap Alina's fried crickets and grasshoppers for wonderful snack actually really enjoy those, But we're all eating insects. You may not know it, but I'm drinking a cup of coffee, for example, and the United States allows about 10% of the green beans that are brought into this country, the insect body parts and drinking coffee or tea. You're most certainly consuming insects. Some peanut butter and chocolate. The FDA allows insect body parts their quotas for both of those as well. So if you can do many of these products on a daily basis, you may not know it, but you're consuming insects regularly. You know, you've always heard the stories of some bug crawling in your mouth while you're sleeping. But I guess it's a lot more subversive than that. You know, it's It's totally a cultural thing, because, you know, just imagine. I teach many Chinese students and they think it's so strange that North Americans eat cereal with milk. That is just the most odd combination to them. Yet it seems perfectly natural to us. So it's worth reminding ourselves that there's no biological basis for a distaste for even sex. It's very culturally conditioned, and we're seeing a lot of indications that maybe this is changing in the United States, For example, at Safeco Field, the field where the Seattle Mariners play, they've got a restaurant there that's been serving up chap Alina's Fried grasshoppers for years. And there are best seller alongside popcorn, peanuts and hot dogs. So you know this may be the harbinger of things to come. Who knows? Yeah, That's the thing. I mean, people talk about insects as being the protein source of the future, And I think it is cultural. I have a friend. She was in the Peace corps back in the day and she was going to go back to her village in And she was really excited because she was going back during Locust season, which is a time when they captured the Locusts, fry him up, throw some salt on them and, you know, eat them like popcorn, and she was really stoked to be going back at that time of year. It's something people enjoy. Absolutely. And in many cultures, I mean much of southern Africa, eating no pain caterpillars called more Pontius is very common, and it's a multimillion dollar industry that gives protein. Two people were refrigeration is scarce. It can be a really important alternative. And I'll just give you one statistic for your listeners to think about in the United States to produce £1 of beef. It takes 1000 gallons of water and two acres of grazing land. To produce £1 of crickets. It takes one gallon of water and two cubic feet of space. And with the crickets you get about three times the amount of protein much more iron and nutrients and essentially, these are freeze dried, pulverized. And turned into a high protein meal..