John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Well, it really depends on how your friends feel about eating bugs.
They're crunchy, they're salty, and they're good for the planet: Say "hellourghh" to Chirps, the snack chip made from the finest cricket antennae and ovipositors.
Chirps are guaranteed to get you talked about at the next potluck dinner you attend. A fetching eggplant-purple, the triangular morsels hit the palate with a unique oomph thanks to their mix of rice, beans, and nutty-tasting cricket flour. They come in sea salt, hickory, and aged-cheddar flavors and are best enjoyed with a beer, perhaps while sitting on your porch listening to the distant calls of their yet-to-be-consumed cousins.
These unusual edibles, which could conceivably become a common item this century as food resources get stretched, were devised by three 2013 Harvard graduates and a seasoned chef. One of the grads, Laura D'Asaro, says she wanted to find a "moral, sustainable way to get protein," and having eaten a caterpillar in Tanzania ("it was love at first taste") thought crickets were the way to go.
Crickets are plentiful and require little precious water to raise. By D'Asaro's calculations, growing a pound of crickets uses one gallon of H20, while producing a similar amount of beef sucks up 2,000 gallons. When compacted, the bugs also become little protein bombs, like an insectoid Clif bar. And, of course, crickets are gluten-free.
Chirps' makers claim they're better than potato chips. Having not tasted one, I can't disagree, but that just sounds impossible—mostly because they're baked, not fried. Still, with a fully overfunded Kickstarter campaign, it seems that people are ready to hustle behind the company's motto: "Because six legs are better than four."
H/t to Treehugger