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食尚:bugs=green superfood!

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核心提示:Dutch scientist Arnold van Huis has advocated bugs as a healthy, green, alternative food, saying it is time to break old eating habits.

Dutch student Walinka van Tol inspects the worm protruding from a half-eaten chocolate praline she's holding, steels herself with a shrug, then pops it into her mouth.

"Tasty ... kind of nutty!" the 20-year-old assures her companions clutching an array of creepy crawly pastries at a seminar, which forecast that larvae and locusts will invade Western menus as the price of steak and chops skyrocket.

Van Tol and about 200 other tasters were guinea pigs for a group of Dutch scientists doing groundbreaking research into insects replacing animal meat as a healthier, more environmentally friendly source of protein.

"There will come a day when a Big Mac costs 120 euros ($163) and a Bug Mac 12 euros, when more people will eat insects than other meat," head researcher Arnold van Huis told a disbelieving audience at Wageningen University in the central Netherlands.

"The best way to start is to try it once," the entomologist insisted.

At break time, there is a sprint for the snack tables with a spread of Thai marinated grasshopper spring rolls, buffalo worm chocolate gnache, and a seemingly innocent pastry "just like a quiche lorraine, but with meal worms instead of bacon or ham", according to chef Henk van Gurp.

The snacks disappear quickly to the delight of the chef and organizers. But the university's head of entomology Marcel Dicke knows that changing Westerners' mindset will take more than disguising a worm in chocolate.

"The problem is here," he says, pointing at his head while examining an exhibition featuring a handful of the world's more than 1,200 edible insect species including worms, gnats, wasps, termites and beetles.

Three species: meal worms, buffalo worms and grasshoppers, are cultivated by three farmers in the Netherlands for a small but growing group of adventurous foodies.

"People think it is something dirty. It generates a Fear Factor response," citing the reality series that tests competitors' toughness by feeding them live insects.

Dicke said Westerners had no choice but to shed their bug bias, with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization predicting there will be nine billion people on the planet by 2050 and agricultural land already under pressure.

"We have to eat less meat or find an alternative," said Dicke, who claims to sit down to a family meal of insects on a regular basis.

Bugs are high in protein, low in fat and efficient to cultivate -- 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of feed yields six to eight kilograms of insect meat compared to one kilogram of beef, states the university's research.

Insects are abundant, produce less greenhouse gas and manure, and do not transfer any diseases, when eaten, that can mutate into a dangerous human form, say the researchers.

"The question really should be: 'Why do we NOT eat insects?" said Dicke, citing research that the average person unwittingly eats about 500 grams of bug particles a year anyway -- in strawberry jam, bread and other processed foods.

According to Van Huis, about 500 types of insects are eaten in Mexico, 250 in Africa and 180 in China and other parts of Asia -- mostly they are a delicacy.

One avid European convert is Marian Peters, secretary of the Dutch insect breeders association, Venik, who likes to snack on grasshoppers and refers to them as "the caviar of insects."

On a visit to an insect farm in Deurne in the south east Netherlands, she greedily peels the wings and legs off a freeze dried locust and crunches down with gusto.

"They are delicious stir fried with good oil, garlic and red pepper and served in a taco," said Peters.
The owner of the farm, Roland van de Ven, produces 1,200kg of meal worms a week of which "one or two percent" for human consumption, the rest as animal feed.

"When you see an insect, it is a barrier. I think people will come around if the insects are processed and not visible in food," he explains while running his fingers through a plastic tray teeming with worms -- one of hundreds stacked ceiling-high in refrigerated breeding rooms.

"It is harder to eat a pig you have seen on a spit than a store-bought steak. This is similar."

The farmer said human demand for his "mini-livestock" was growing slowly -- from 300 kilograms in 2008 to 900 kilograms last year.

For those who won't be swayed, there is hope for less grizzly alternative. Wageningen University is leading research into the viability of extracting insect protein for use in food products.

"We want to determine if we can texturize it to resemble meat, like they do with soy," said Peters, clutching a bag of pinkish powder -- protein taken from meal worms she hopes will one day be a common pizza ingredient.

荷兰学生 Walinka van Tol 观察着她手中咬了一半的巧克力果仁糖中伸出的虫子,耸了耸肩,然后坚定地把它送入口中。


Van Tol 和大约 200 位食客成为了一组荷兰科学家的小白鼠,进行一项创新研究,试图让昆虫取代动物肉类,成为一种更健康、更环保的蛋白质来源。

“将来有一天会出现售价 120 欧元(163 美元)的巨无霸和 12 欧元的虫无霸,到时候人们吃昆虫比其他肉类更多,”首席研究员 Arnold van Huis 在荷兰中部的瓦赫宁根大学告诉一群对此不相信的听众。


Henk van Gurp 厨师表示,他们曾在早餐时段小吃表单上列出过一小段时间的泰式腌制蚱蜢春卷、buffalo worm 夹心巧克力,以及看上去没什么问题的糕点“就像是洛林糕,但取代培根或火腿的是面粉虫”。

令厨师和组织者高兴的是,这些小吃很快售空。但该大学昆虫学的领军人物 Marcel Dicke 明白,要改变西方人的观念,把虫子伪装在巧克力中是远远不够的。

“问题在于这儿,”他边说,边指向一边展览着的全世界超过 1200 种可食用昆虫,其中包括蠕虫、蠓虫、黄蜂、白蚁和甲虫。

荷兰有三位农场主养殖面粉虫、buffalo worms 和蚱蜢,提供给数量小但不断增长的爱冒险的美食家们。


Dicke 说西方人别无选择,必须摆脱他们的虫子偏见,因为联合国粮食及农业组织预计到 2050 年地球上将有九十亿人口,而农业用地早已压力重重。

“我们不得不少吃肉,或者寻找一种替代品,”Dicke 说,他呼吁可经常在家庭主食中尝试些昆虫类。

虫子蛋白质含量高,脂肪含量少,培育效率高——该大学的研究表明,10 千克(22 磅)饲料可以喂养六至八千克的昆虫肉,而只能喂养一千克的牛肉。


“真正的问题应该是:‘为什么我们不吃昆虫呢?’”Dicke 说,他引用了某项研究,称无论如何一般人每年都会无意识地吃下大约 500 克的虫子颗粒——在草莓果酱、面包和其他加工食品中。

Van Huis 表示,在墨西哥,大约 500 种昆虫被人食用,非洲有 250 种,中国和亚洲其他地区 180 种——几乎全是佳肴。

Marian Peters 是一位狂热的欧洲食虫者,她是荷兰 Venik 昆虫饲养者协会的秘书,喜欢拿蚱蜢当点心,称其为“昆虫鱼子酱”。


“它们用提纯油、大蒜和红辣椒混合爆炒,再裹在墨西哥煎玉米卷里真是美味极了,”Peters 说。

这家农场的主人 Roland van de Ven 每周生产1200kg膳食蠕虫,其中1~2%供人类食用,剩下的作为动物饲料。



这位农场主说,人们对他的“迷你家畜”的需求正缓慢上升——从 2008 年的 300千克到去年的 900千克。


“我们想要确认是否可以修改其结构,变得和肉类相似,就像别人拿大豆做的那样,”Peters 边说边抓着一袋粉红色粉末——从面粉虫中获取的蛋白质,她希望这将有朝一日成为普通的匹萨配料。


关键词: 昆虫
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