After much success using edible insects with my GCSE groups during their product development work, I decided to introduce the concept of entomophagy (that is ‘insect eating’) during a practical lesson with my year 10 group.
So the lesson objectives were simple
- To define entomophagy.
- To make a dish using edible insects in a group following hygiene and safety procedures.
- To evaluate all dishes upon completion.
So I set out tables with the ingredients necessary for the following three recipes
Satay Mealworms with Rice
Buffalo Worms Macaroni Cheese
Some of the pupils were a little reluctant to begin with but as we had done a starter in a previous lesson on the concept of eating insects I built on those initial conversations and asked them as food students to be open minded to the idea of cooking and trying insects as after all this is the food of the future. To their credit,they responded positively and in their groups got on with the task of following the recipes to create their dish. As I circulated, I could hear them discussing the shape of the insects, smells etc .One or two were a little repulsed by the smell of the mealworms roasting and others insisted on crushing the insects in a pestel and mortar before adding to dishes but other than that there were no major issues.
Once, all of the dishes were ready pupils set them up for a picture in the light box and then as a class we visited each station and tasted each dish. All students with the exception of two tried all of the final dishes ; one who is a vegetarian and does not believe in eating insects or animals and one felt that she was not ready to try them, so no pressure was out on her to do so. Most of the pupils were really supervised at the taste of the dishes and the majority preferred the satay recipe most with some commenting that’they loved it’ and it was ‘amazing’ and that they could ‘ eat it all day’ and many were surprised that the worms contained a massive 45g of protein.The saltiness of the bacon and cheese in the macaroni cheese meant that there was no distinctive taste of insects and pupils enjoyed eating it describing it as flavoursome with a variety of textures.The pupils responded positively to the cricket flapjacks describing them as lighter in texture than regular flapjacks, sweet and crunchy. However, some were checking for the shape and body parts of the crickets and not as keen to try these as the savoury dishes.
As a plenary pupils were asked to list two advantages and two disadvantages of eating insects and to write down their opinions and views on eating insects.
Here are some of the main comments:
Advantages of entomophagy
You can increase your protein intake easily as they are cheaper than protein sources from mammals.
Stops people eating animals.
Very high in protein.
Sustainable as there are lots of them so shouldn’t run out.
Can make quick easy meals to include them in.
Good to try something new.
Reduces carbon footprint.
Gives a different texture.
Insects consume less food and water than a larger animal so are more sustainable.
Insects leave a smaller carbon footprint as they produce less greenhouse gases.
Doesn’t look very appealing .
I found the smell of the insects cooking put me off.
People may be not open to trying it.
May not look appetising.
People may be repulsed by eating them.
People immediately think as it is an insect it carries loads of disease. Requires mind over matter.
Opinions and views
I like the idea of increasing my protein intake however I think it takes a lot of effort to hide them in a food product when they don’t taste that great.
I don’t mind eating insects as long as they are not whole.
I think all food students should learn about insects in food lesson as one day we be eating insects in every meal.
I feel that including insects into meals is unusual thing to do but some meats taste better with them.
I think food students should learn about entomophagy because it’s good to learn about different food cultures and trends.
I am open to trying them as they are high in protein and can help with growth and repair.
I think insect meals should be an option to cook in schools if a student is to choose what meal to make. I think it should be brought in in a small way.
Personally, I would not eat insects as I don’t agree with killing any animal including insects however it is good to learn about them as it gives you a wider view on what you can and may have to eat in the future.
This lesson certainly got the pupils thinking and talking.
So it was definitely a worthwhile and interesting lesson which I plan to add to my future schemes of work.