Dinner with Frankenstein

Timon: «These are rare delicacies. Pecans with a very pleasant crunch!»

Pumbaa: «You’ll learn to love them»

Timon: «I’m telling you, kid: this is the great life»

(From Walt Disney’s “The Lion King”, 1994)

In just a few weeks, Wales will open its doors to the first English restaurant having insects as main course. It will be possibile to taste delicious dishes, such as bug burgers, cricket kebabs, burrito bugs or bamboo worm fudge ice creams. They must be crazy, the Welsh! Actually, they’re not insane at all, considering that, all over the world, insect-based food has become popular; there are so many restaurants and even innovative start-ups dedicated to entomophagy that have won loans for new entrepreneurship.

Lots of people assert that insects, thanks to their nutritive values, might be one of the possibile ways to manage the matter of hungry in a world even more densely populated.

But what about Italy? How many people would like to taste a locust-based corn mush? At the moment, probably, only few Italians, although the first attempts to organize an ento-dinner (immediately suspended by ASL) have recorded the sold-out of curious Milanese. Other ones would not even dream about eating caterpillars!

However, all of us do already that without being aware. How is it possibile? The answer is simple: there are a lot of different ways, for example, whenever we eat a candy, a chewing gum, a yogurt or any product which contains E120.

The cochineal carminic acid E120 is the food additive that is usually indicated at the bottom of labels. This colourant is obtained by the extractions of insects’ red pigment. People who know it, in general, try to avoid it.

On the contrary, those who say «I would never eat crushed bugs» keep ingesting them unconsciously.

People that know this kind of colourant belong to the category of those who have learnt to read labels with the aim of understanding the meanings of products’ food codes. In reality, E120 is not the worse one because, sometimes, it is possiile to find oil-derived products.

Food additives represent a big family which includes the most surprising search results in agri-food, cosmetics and body care sectors. This is the reason why everybody learns to read labels and chooses what to buy both for health and mind protection (although the most part of food additives is safe).

In fact, as the saying goes: «We are what we eat».

Wrtitten by Giordano GolinelliFondazione ACRA-CCS

Translated into English by Arianna Rimoldi

Originally published on http://blog.zonageografia.scuola.com

Photo R0030631 (cc) urasimaru