A year after I started The Apocalypse Project, I collaborated with chefs to design dishes of the future. What can we eat if meat, dairy, wheat, and other typical food sources were not enough to feed everyone on the planet? The idea was to get people to think about alternative dishes that are actually sustainable. I loved the crazier recipes in the eventual outcomes, such as dishes made of insects, worms, etc. I actually enjoyed tasting them all, even though some of them made my skin crawl at first.
Food is one of the best frameworks for discussing sustainability, because not only is it a way to get people together, but our current food choices is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint. The easiest way to do something is to change our food choices, which is why I made Food the first theme for Year for the Planet, my personal challenge to change myself in making environmental choices.
I realized that in 2017, there are so many individuals, businesses, and cultures around the world who have been experimenting with similar themes. Many cultures in Asia have insects in their diet, and in the West, they are finding ways to infuse these in their cuisine. I started to wonder, do they taste good? How can individuals incorporate them in their diet?
When we hold Future Feasts, I could classify the people into three categories:
1. The Adventurous Muncher – “YES! Let’s have crickets every day!”. This is the person who can easily change their food mindset.
2. The Squeamish but Conscious Eater – “I’ll have the locust taco but can you make sure all the faces are pulverized? Oh and drown it in guacamole, please, so I won’t notice them.” These are the ones who want these substitutions to look and taste like their usual diet. They want to try new things but they might not necessarily adapt quickly to the sensory baggage that goes with it.
3. The Weekender – “Ok, that’s great. I’ll have sea vegetable chips once a week.” This is the person who can make room for these foods on some days.
4. The Rejector – “No, thanks, I’ll stick to beef.” This is the individual who resists change.
There are so many sustainable food options out there. But not very many people know what they are or where they can get them. Fewer still are those who know how they taste. Some of them might also not be affordable for everyone. When it comes to feeding all people without killing the planet, we have a long way to go.
So here at Future Rx, Future Feast will be a food review of all the insects, worms, previously unknown grains, sea veggie chips, etc. that I can sink my teeth into. I’m an Adventurous Muncher, so I’ll try anything once. My goal is to review these dishes and say 1) whether they are delicious, 2) why they are sustainable (including how they are prepared, packaged, and transported), and 3) how we can add them to our diet. Occasionally, I’ll put out recipes I invented.
I think that someone should be able to tell the world whether these actually taste good and that might as well be me. Bug steaks, anyone?
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