This past weekend, the Jackson Institute hosted an event quite unlike the lectures and conferences that are usually housed in Horchow Hall. Aptly titled, “A Wine and Insect Affair” was an exploration of the world of edible insects.
Attendees were given the opportunity to try various wine and bug pairings in a sit-down tasting style, starting with more “beginner” insect-driven snacks, like protein bars and chocolate pieces, then venturing into more advanced treats, like honey-mustard crickets and candied mealworms.
The event was brought to Jackson by Manus McCaffrey, a Jackson M.A. student who has worked in food security with USAID, most recently on the Food for Peace project. “When I met Aly and heard about the potential that bug consumption has in the field of sustainable sustenance, I thought it was a great opportunity to get people talking about this topic in a different way,” says McCaffrey.
Aly Moore is a Yale alum and the creator of Bugible, the leading “bug blog” in North America. Moore runs an organization called “Eat Bugs Events,” through which she travels across the country to put on edible insect events for all different groups of people. She guided attendees through 10 different wine/bug pairings, explaining how each wine complemented its respective insect snack and more generally the benefits and possibilities of insects as a food source.
“Insects are a superfood. They’re healthy for you, the environment, and taste great. Insects like crickets have more protein and less fat than traditional meats like cows,” writes Moore on her website. “A pound of beef takes about 2,000 gallons of water to get from the farm to your table, while a pound of crickets takes 1 gallon.”
The room was packed with almost 60 open-minded eaters, many surprised at how delicious flavored grasshoppers and ants could be. While it might not have converted every attendee to the edible insect diet, it surely opened up the eyes of many to the possibilities of more sustainable (and delicious) protein sources.