Accepted Paper:

Edible insects and cultural perceptions  

Author:

Michelle Roberts (Cali Sate University Sacramento and University of Nevada Reno)

Paper short abstract:

This research looks at different cultural perceptions about insects as food by comparing ethnographic data from Southeast Asia and the United States. Why do some cultures accept insects as food while they repulse others? What makes an insect culturally appropriate to eat, and others inappropriate?

Paper long abstract:

Creepy, crawly, wiggly, and slimy, perhaps these are some of the ways you've described insects in the past. How would you feel about eating them? According to the United Nations insects are an underutilized food resource that have the potential to help feed the world's growing population. Insects are acceptable food in 80% of the world's cultures. This research looks at different cultural perceptions about insects as food by comparing ethnographic data from Southeast Asia and the United States. Why do some cultures accept insects as food while they repulse others? What makes an insect culturally appropriate to eat, and others inappropriate? What flavors and textures are most enjoyed when eating insects? What insects are least enjoyable? This research discusses these questions and considers environmental and nutritional benefits of incorporating insect foods into mainstream US diets. Upscale restaurants in the United States have started offering minimal insect foods on their menus, is this simply a trend or is it here to stay?

Panel LL-FWF05
Taste in motion: movement, placement, and localization of new food and beverages in the past and present