Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Bugs On The Menu: A Tasty TV Treat
I made sure I had my breakfast before clicking on the preview DVD of Bugs On The Menu.
I was afraid the subject matter might put me off food for the rest of the day --the increasing substitution of grilled insects for steak and chicken.
But I didn't have to worry. This 75-minute documentary will have you convinced the future of protein is grilled bugs as tasty treats.
You can check it all out on CBC's Documentary Channel Tuesday October 11 at 9 p.m.
I'd give this sassy production a five cricket rating, yes I would.
Now I'm not sure I'd ever want to much on grilled crickets but in a powdered form covered with a great sauce who knows?
The Canadian film (from 291 Film Company) has already played to packed houses in Victoria and Edmonton with additional showings scheduled in Indiana and Australia.
I remember once interviewing the bug rangler on the TV series Amazon and he insisted every one of God's six legged critters came equipped with a heart and soul.
The way he patted his tarantulas was heart warming.
I'm not sure how he would react to the scenes of bugs being stir fried or boiled in olive oil.
The thesis of this amazing film is that everything old is new again.
Our cavemen ancestors feasted on insects to survive and today many people from South Africa to Cambodia devour bugs--we see them out on the hunt or in fancier cafes munching away.
Today moving away from a diet of steak and chicken to one that includes bugs seems sensible considering the fact that the world's population might hit 9 trillion within the next 25 years.
All of a sudden insect farms seem to be flourishing. The little critters need very little water compared to cattle and can be farmed in any number of situations --in South Africa we see villagers gathering them from the savannah.
And bug farming has become a big business.
One Louisiana family controlled enterprise has been at it for 60 years --originally the insects were farmed as bait for fishermen --gradually the business turned over to today's insect farming for human consumption.
Director Ian Toews has discovered some great characters to illustrate his true story.
Like Entomo Farm's Goldin brothers Darren, Jarrod and Ryan who raise cricket protein for human consumption and business is booming.
Like the female entrepreneurs in charge of the insect chip company Six Foods (named after the six legs on a cricket).
Like the wonderfully likable insect chef David George Gordon author of Eat A Bug Cookbook as he prepares dishes for a thiousand hearty souls at New York city's Explorers Club.
And the historical anecdotes ring true --like the Salt Lake City story of the Mormon crickets who saved the first Mormon settlers from certain starvation.
We see future bug entrepreneurs being schooled at Montana State University and Harvard Business School.
And not everything is upbeat --a virus recently decimated the cricket population being farmed and could pose problems for sustainability in the future.
I have mixed feelings about eating insects I must admit. The huge farms growing up are based on the assumption more and more people will gravitate to insect munching.
But there are signs the big food companies are poised to take over if they see the business flourishing.
Best thing about Bugs On The Menu? I say the 75-minute length lets us sink into the subject and get a real feeling for all sides of the story.
BUGS ON THE MENU PREMIERES ON CBC'S DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL TUESDAY OCTOBER 11 AT 9 P.M. (REPEATED SUNDAY OCTOBER 16 AT 9 P.M.)
MY RATING: ****.