Suphunburi

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Back in the Suphunburi region of Thailand this week for more continuation training as the rainy season begins to set in and Thais prepare to celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year just, from April 13-15.

Wikipedia: Chakri Day memorialises the institution of the Chakri Dynasty by Rama I, who led the Kingdom of Siam in a fight against the Burmese when they tried to take over the land that is today known as Thailand. This fight lasted for more than a decade and saw the then capital city of Ayutthaya destroyed and looted by Burmese forces. But the Siamese people never stopped fighting back, and under Rama I in 1779 were finally able to reclaim the city from the Burmese.

Overwhelmed with gratitude and respect, the Kingdom of Siam appointed Rama I head of the Kingdom on April 6, 1782, marking the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty.

During the important festive season now happening and mixing with the country folk around Ban Rai it’s time to try a bit of the local tucker in the Karen hilltribe and local Thai villages.

Ant lava soup, dried dead ants, some live bull ants with a dash of salt and sugar goes down well with some locally grown herbs and coffee to boot.

An article by Chelsea Hervey on energy and environment In the Washington Post said: “In general, it’s hard to convince people to eat bugs — but that hasn’t stopped policymakers from trying.”

For years, sustainable food experts in western countries have pushed the insect-eating agenda, touting its nutritional and environmental benefits. Insects are high in protein, relatively inexpensive to raise and have a lower carbon footprint than other food animals like cows or chickens. And in parts of Africa, Asia and Central and South America insects are a regular part of the local cuisine.

Even the United Nations has gotten on board. Its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has laid out a series of arguments in favor of insectivory — the practice of eating insects — in publications over the past decade, including its most recent 2013 report, “Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security.”

But while a handful of gutsy restaurants and food manufacturers have started serving up creepy crawlies in dishes ranging from grasshopper tacos to cricket-flour cookies, insect eating has yet to really catch on in western countries. And one University of London researcher has a theory about why.

In a commentary published in Nature, researcher Ophelia Deroy argues that making insects seem more appealing, rather than simply making logical arguments about their benefits, is the key to getting consumers to eat them.

“Most of the insects eaten in the world are cooked as part of interesting preparations that make them a genuine competitor to other foods, and often a more attractive option,” writes Deroy, a researcher in the University of London’s Centre for the Study of the Senses.

“These insects are eaten by choice, not necessity. This obvious fact is missed by most of the current research and policies.”

Placing a greater emphasis on recipes and presentation, Deroy argues, may just be the key to swaying more people into giving them a shot.

Personally, I don’t see all the fuss because of huge benefits outweighing horrible thoughts of eating those little critters. Watch this space for more bush tucker eaten by Truck on the long ride home.