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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    The European Union's food safety agency has just declared that yellow mealworms are safe for consumption. These are the larvae of a species of beetle, Tenebrio molitor, and they be used as a protein source either whole (a crunchy treat) or ground up into powder. The only drawback is that people who have shellfish or mite allergies can't consume them.

    Honestly, I think similar food sources (insects, including larvae, as well as other small invertebrates) are the inevitable future of animal protein consumption. Leaving ethical concerns around meat-eating vs. vegetarianism/veganism aside, meat, especially that of large animals, is far too wasteful to be consumed as it is now in such a large scale, by such a large world population. It's already an ecological disaster, and there needs to be an alternative if we are to survive long-term as a species. And grubs are a much less wasteful and more efficient source of protein, so it's the only feasible large-scale alternative I see where we continue eating animal protein of some sort.

    So... what do you think? Would you eat a delicious mealworm cupcake (as linked near the end of the article)?

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Ethical concerns of eating meat aside, I see no reasons not to.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    If it tastes good, I'll eat just about anything.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    As someone whose biggest complaint with the mass consumption of arthropods is that I can't find them often enough (or are massively over-flavored when I can) I can't wait until this is normalized.

    I like to snack of crickets for example. There is even a company that bags them up like crisps...and then uses a bunch of spices I can not tolerate and oversalts them to hell and back...so a supply that actually tastes like cricket (very mild taste) is hard.

    Had "mealworms" a few times in various places...it is a bit of a catchall term with the larva of a handful of species regularly being called that on menus even if they really shouldn't...and have a love of honey ants in particular (they are kinda like sweet tarts) so this whole "eat more bugs" is more of a proper preparation challenge than anything.

    Grinding mealworms to ... meal... is more something I'd be working on as a sauce thickener probably...how a mealworm roux behaves for example is something to explore.




    As for the cupcake...personally probably not...but I also would turn down normal cupcakes most of the time too.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    I guess I could provided they are ground up, for instance in something like a hamburger. But I'm not sure I would like to see it as an insect and I think I'm not the only one.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    One way or another beef, pork, poultry are inevitably going off the market, but I think I'll just become a vegetarian at that point of the alternative is arthropods and mollusks. I've tried almost every kind of arthropod and mollusk, didn't like any of them. Haven't tried snails yet, no hurry though. No hurry to try out mealworms either to be honest.
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by farothel View Post
    I guess I could provided they are ground up, for instance in something like a hamburger. But I'm not sure I would like to see it as an insect and I think I'm not the only one.
    If you grind them up, the result is more like flour than ground beef. So while you could get a wormwaffle, a bugburger would be tricky.
    Last edited by Grek; 2021-01-17 at 08:28 AM.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    One way or another beef, pork, poultry are inevitably going off the market, but I think I'll just become a vegetarian at that point of the alternative is arthropods and mollusks. I've tried almost every kind of arthropod and mollusk, didn't like any of them. Haven't tried snails yet, no hurry though. No hurry to try out mealworms either to be honest.
    meh. I doubt that it will become OFF the market.
    I do think it will become far more expensive...the mass market system that today is normal is highly resource intensive and thus will probably become a niche market as more demand is placed on such resources.
    However there is also the low density meat production methods. A lot of ranch land where ruminants are raised is not very usable for much else agriculture wise. Not all ranchland makes good plowland...and pastorealism is a good way of taking low density resources and concentrating them in a more usable way...so The amount of meat entering the market will be far less.

    Unless lab grown muscle makes another couple of leaps forward by then.



    But frankly bugs just need some cuisine built around them,

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    meh. I doubt that it will become OFF the market.
    I do think it will become far more expensive...the mass market system that today is normal is highly resource intensive and thus will probably become a niche market as more demand is placed on such resources.
    However there is also the low density meat production methods. A lot of ranch land where ruminants are raised is not very usable for much else agriculture wise. Not all ranchland makes good plowland...and pastorealism is a good way of taking low density resources and concentrating them in a more usable way...so The amount of meat entering the market will be far less.

    Unless lab grown muscle makes another couple of leaps forward by then.



    But frankly bugs just need some cuisine built around them,
    I was talking in the long term, hundreds of years. Mass extinction, collapse of ecosystem and rapid anthropocentric climate change and all that.
    Either beef and pork goes off the market* in my life time by choice or in my grandchildren's lifetime by force. The level of devastation cows cause to the environment is unsustainable, which means it will not be sustained. The end of beef is inevitable.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    I was talking in the long term, hundreds of years. Mass extinction, collapse of ecosystem and rapid anthropocentric climate change and all that.
    Either beef and pork goes off the market* in my life time by choice or in my grandchildren's lifetime by force. The level of devastation cows cause to the environment is unsustainable, which means it will not be sustained. The end of beef is inevitable.
    I agree meat from large animals will probably go off the market, but I don't think I quite agree it will be because it's not sustainable.
    I mean - it isn't, at least not in it's current form, but even cows and pigs can be held quite sustainably. As sktarq said, there are plenty of environments where a few cows won't do any harm and where keeping livestock is the only practical use of the land. Grassy wetlands for example (for cows) or dry mountain tops (for sheep) - keeping a few there and eating them as a natural predator would is quite sustainable.

    But I think future people won't. I think once nutrients from factories and laboratories become easily and cheaply available the idea of eating another creature will start grossing people out.
    You see the same thing everywhere when people get richer and more "developed". People who have clean-cut meat easily available often get fussy about eating blood, eyeballs and offal.

    Already, there are the children who do not know where milk comes from, or that chicken nuggets are actually made out of actual chicken.
    And they are often horrified to find out.

    I can very well imagine that if you have clean, uniform lab-grown meat easily available, the idea of eating a living creature is just too gross.
    Can you imagine telling someone: "yes, this meat used to poop and sweat and roll in mud, and it was filled with bacteria and viruses, and now we're going to eat it" when there is lab meat available?

    I'm sure actual animal-meat could remain a delicacy for the rich or eccentric, but I doubt it will remain "on the market" in any significant manner.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Murk View Post
    (...) but even cows and pigs can be held quite sustainably. As sktarq said, there are plenty of environments where a few cows won't do any harm and where keeping livestock is the only practical use of the land. Grassy wetlands for example (for cows) or dry mountain tops (for sheep) - keeping a few there and eating them as a natural predator would is quite sustainable.
    The problem with that, I think, is one of scale. The global demand for meat, with our massive population and a continuously increasing share of that population regularly eating meat, needs meat production to occur in volumes that are hard to reach with extensive farming, which is what you describe. So you have today's intensive cattle farming, where cattle is raised indoors, in large concentrations.

    Besides, at some point, it's hard to beat the simple math of energy input vs. output, and large animals will "lose" a considerable amount of energy over their lifetime either way. I get it, by raising them in integration with environments that don't have much other practical use, this energy loss becomes just negligible noise in the biosphere... but I can't help but think that, as population and consumption grow, that math is going to cause problems at some point.
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2021-01-21 at 08:19 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKazum View Post
    The problem with that, I think, is one of scale. The global demand for meat, with our massive population and a continuously increasing share of that population regularly eating meat, needs meat production to occur in volumes that are hard to reach with extensive farming, which is what you describe. So you have today's intensive cattle farming, where cattle is raised indoors, in large concentrations.

    Besides, at some point, it's hard to beat the simple math of energy input vs. output, and large animals will "lose" a considerable amount of energy over their lifetime either way. I get it, by raising them in integration with environments that don't have much other practical use, this energy loss becomes just negligible noise in the biosphere... but I can't help but think that, as population and consumption grow, that math is going to cause problems at some point.
    Oh yes, I definitely agree sustainable meat consumption means very low meat consumption.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    Either beef and pork goes off the market* in my life time by choice or in my grandchildren's lifetime by force. The level of devastation cows cause to the environment is unsustainable, which means it will not be sustained. The end of beef is inevitable.
    Meh...I think it will simply become too expensive for most people. Sustainable cattle ranching is very much possible, where it actually benefits the environment even, but in order to do that the price of beef needs to be high enough that low densities are used...the density levels that are environmentally sustainable are today economically unsustainable.

    Now on the level of hundreds of years creating new bacteria that break down cellulose down into its component glucose parts without creating methane that live in ruminant guts, lab grown meat, artificial light driven algae being used as a basis of a tank grown aquaculture system,and a dozen other things could also change the idea of what is or is not sustainable. We may find many bugs that are sustainable now become unsustainable at scale...

    Because a lot of areas of corn, cotton, etc will also be long term unsustainable...including areas famous for producing those things. doesn't mean we won't figure out ways around things...inevitable is world I hesitate to throw around.

    Also population grown is not a given on that kind of time scale. Which may also change sustainability issues.


    but hopefully by that time good integration of grasshoppers, mealworms (which honestly I see as a kind of protein powder type thing in a lot of diet...Soymeal replacement perhaps), waxworms, crickets, caterpillars, etc in various diets has occurred....and lets be blunt in many parts of the world this is already normal..its "The West" being the unusual one here. But I'd love to see it become normal just down the street as much for variety as anything. Ordering up some bamboo worm deep fried rice or a waxworm pot pie sounds like it could be very promising in general.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2021-01-22 at 07:09 PM.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    For now, using it as filler in other things is probably the most palatable route for most people. Some catchy marketing name might help. Compare Patagonian toothfish and Chilean sea bass. They're the same critter, but guess which resulted in more ending up on folk's plates?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    For now, using it as filler in other things is probably the most palatable route for most people. Some catchy marketing name might help. Compare Patagonian toothfish and Chilean sea bass. They're the same critter, but guess which resulted in more ending up on folk's plates?
    This seems like the most likely route to me. Even if you can get people 100% on board, the appeal I hear most often quoted is that arthropods are higher in protein, but especially in America, people aren't eating meat just for protein or even calories; they're eating it for volume.

    Which raises the question: what kind of production ramp-up will be necessary for arthropods to replace meat by volume?

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    Which raises the question: what kind of production ramp-up will be necessary for arthropods to replace meat by volume?
    Replace meat by caloric requirements.

    100g of roasted crickets = 126 calories (5g carbs, 5g fat, 12g protein)
    112g of 93% lean beef = 170 calories (no carbs, 8g fat, 23g protein)
    113g of chicken breast = 99 calories (no carbs, 1g fat, 21g protein)

    Where it comes up short is heme. Crickets have far less heme than beef, so you need to find your heme source elsewhere.
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    Replace meat by caloric requirements.

    100g of roasted crickets = 126 calories (5g carbs, 5g fat, 12g protein)
    112g of 93% lean beef = 170 calories (no carbs, 8g fat, 23g protein)
    113g of chicken breast = 99 calories (no carbs, 1g fat, 21g protein)

    Where it comes up short is heme. Crickets have far less heme than beef, so you need to find your heme source elsewhere.
    As I said, my concern here isn't just caloric. If we're going to adapt to a meat-low or -free, arthropod-heavy diet, it's going to take a greater cultural change than just convincing people to eat bugs. The issue with meat at the moment (at least in America) isn't one of calories, it's one of volume - people are eating too much in general, but especially too much meat. I'm less concerned about what we'll be eating in the future and more about how much, and how we'll be able to induce a societal change such that the answer to the latter question is "less, in general."

    I admit that might be outside the scope of this thread, though, and personally I'm not interested enough in it to start a new thread.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    Replace meat by caloric requirements.

    100g of roasted crickets = 126 calories (5g carbs, 5g fat, 12g protein)
    112g of 93% lean beef = 170 calories (no carbs, 8g fat, 23g protein)
    113g of chicken breast = 99 calories (no carbs, 1g fat, 21g protein)

    Where it comes up short is heme. Crickets have far less heme than beef, so you need to find your heme source elsewhere.
    Replacing protein with carbs is probably not generally desirable. The western diet is stuffed with cheap carbs as it is, so we tend to get too many of them.

    I suspect that cultural aspects are probably bigger, though. A steak probably has more appeal for the average diner than a serving of crickets.

    That said, for animals, the same may not apply. My hedgehogs absolutely love crickets and mealworms, more so than steak. They're insectivores, so that makes sense. There may be additional opportunities to supplement animal feed even if they are unpopular as human food.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    I figure we may see insects used in processed foods before we see them as part of general cuisine here in the west, outside of some specialty restaurant type dishes perhaps. Especially mixed with other things...perhaps even mixed with other protein sources...so a tofu like block of ground cricket glued together with mealworm and cows blood/offal for example.

    And certainly as protein powder additives to shakes and the like.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    If you grind them up, the result is more like flour than ground beef. So while you could get a wormwaffle, a bugburger would be tricky.
    Maybe the bug portion of the bugburger is actually the bun?

    Then you put a portobello mushroom or vegetable-product inside the bun.


    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    Where it comes up short is heme. Crickets have far less heme than beef, so you need to find your heme source elsewhere.
    Impossible Burger claims to use some kind of yeast-based fermentation for heme production.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Impossible Burger claims to use some kind of yeast-based fermentation for heme production.
    The Mycoprotein and Soya based things are already at the point where (in my none Gourmet view) they are a good substitute and approaching indistinguishable for 'Sausage Rolls', Lasagna and (Chicken) Curries and Nuggets. They have some ecological issues of their own and are still more expensive but are getting to the point where 'why would you not'.

    Fake burgers or sausages have come a long way too, recently. I haven't tried the high end stuff (including the lab meat, or impossible burger). But there are products out there that are almost competitive with inferior products on taste, supermarket-expensive products on price, and the most unhealthiest on health. Which isn't viable but if they fix one factor they could easily replace 30% of what I currently buy on their own merits.

    I do want to try the fake steaks. If they get to be reasonable for normal meals with the lab-meat/sustainably-farmed provide the special occaision then that seems a pretty good situation.

    And that's without directly changing diets. Some traditional veggie stuff is far better than I give it credit for.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Impossible burgers are not awful. They still don't taste exactly like meat, but it's far less of a stretch than old timey veggie burgers that were honestly not very good at all.

    I'll still generally pick meat, but I wouldn't be put out if someone was serving burgers, and Impossible burgers were the only type they had.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    I eat a fair amount of fake meat, and find it most useful to think of it not as a a direct meat flavor substitute, but as a meat role substitute. Grill up a fake sausage, stick it on a wrap with cheese and pickles and veggies and you have a very good lunch or dinner. It really doesn't taste like what you get if you use a sausage - much lighter and drier - but it's quite good and as easy to cook as using real sausage.
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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    Well, creepy crawlies are actually real meat in nutritional sense, unlike soy fakes, and I think we still retain digestive adaptations for them since our ape-y ancestral times (not sure, but lazy to check for now), so I'm approving this idea in general.
    As to actually eating them... Well, powder and other processed products should be easy to swallow, but whole worm would require being used too - I mean, it looks really icky. Though roasted and crunchy, or dried and sugared, or otherwise processed enough to lose resemblance should be fine by me.

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    Default Re: (Worm) Meat is back on the menu, boys!

    My first time going to gencon, where I also decided to run 40ish hours of D&D, I was wildly unprepared and like ready to fall over starving around the time of the final slot I was running saturday night. Then, one of the players let me snack on a few crickets she had brought. Like, literally just a bag of home fried crickets. They were amazing, I'm actually kind of interested in reaching a point where I could go grab a bag of the things at a corner store when the mood strikes me.
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