We live in the countryside, where relationship with insects is very close and children experience it daily through direct observation and contact.
But we live in a place where culinary tradition is very strong (as everywhere in Italy) and survives through the presence of the elderly -especially-grandmothers- in families living under the same roof.
I thought to ask my son P. (9 years) and his friend A. (10 years) some questions about the idea of eating insects, while we chatted.
What is your relationship with insects?
A: I live in the countryside and I see bugs every day. Execept for those that sting like wasps, others don’t bother me … unless they buzz on my ears!
P: I like bugs and they don’t bother me at all. We often catch and observe them in our garden. I don’t even mind mosquitoes, because they don’t bite me.
Have you ever tried to get one bug from the lawn and put it in your mouth?
A: It’s happened that a gnat entered in my mouth as I was walking, but I’ve never putted a bug in my mouth because I wanted to.
P: When I was a child I licked a grasshopper, but I felt no taste.
If I ask you to do it now, would you?
A: No way! Maybe something as small as a gnat, but I do not think. Certainly not a grasshopper!
P: I put it in my mouth if you want, but only if the bug does not move!
And would you chew a bug?
A: A big bug no. A gnat maybe.
P: No, me neither.
Why? What’s disturbing in this idea? You may not like the taste? Hear cracking under the teeth?
A: Yes, and also that when you chew it the bug explodes and all intestines get out!
P: Me too. Think about eating intestines…
Do you appreciate your grandmother’s traditional cooking?
A: Yes, I love it!
P: Yes, a lot!
If tomorrow your grandmother will offer you spaghetti with meat sauce and told you that pasta was made with cricket flour?
A: I would not eat spaghetti, because I know there are crickets inside.
P: I would try just a little, to feel the taste. After that I could decide if I like them.
Many insects species are edible and have a high content of proteins and other nutrients. In many countries they are part of human diet for thousands of years. Does it make any difference for you?
A: It does not change anything. I could eat insects only for survival, otherwise I prefer to eat meat.
P: I’m a little more curious. Just a little.
Would you try a bar with chocolate, cereals and insects?
A: Yes I would, because I really like chocolate and I think that it might cover the taste of the insects, although I do not know what they taste like.
P: Yes, I would too. I like chocolate very much and I love cereals.
You know that industrial farming of cows, pigs and chicken produces many environment pollution and water consumption problems. What do you think of a future where meat could be a very small part of our diet and we could get proteins we need mostly from insects?
A: I’m ready to change my diet to protect the environment, eating less meat and more insects. But only if they are in the chocolate bar!
P: I’m also ready to change, if it helps to protect the environment.
After this interview, will you look at insects with a different eye?
A: Yes, I did not know much about this topic before, no one has ever talked to me about that, I just saw something on tv, in those programs where people have to survive on what they find in nature. However I would not eat spaghetti with crickets flour!
P: Yes, mainly because it can help us to live better, to live a healthier life. I also realized that the way we breed cows and pigs today is dangerous for the environment and that insects can help us to solve this problem.