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The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet

  • The definitive guide to insects as a sustainable food source
  • 2014 First Place Winner for Cookbooks, San Francisco Green Book Festival

Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table

By: Arnold van Huis(Author), Henk van Gurp(Author), Marcel Dicke(Author), Françoise Takken-Kaminker(Translated by), Diane Blumenfeld-Schaap(Translated by), Louise O Fresco(Foreword By)

191 pages, 126 colour photos

Columbia University Press

Paperback | Dec 2015 | #223798 | ISBN-13: 9780231166850
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £13.95 $19/€16 approx
Hardback | Mar 2014 | #210472 | ISBN-13: 9780231166843
Availability: In stock
NHBS Special Offer Price: £13.99 £22.95 (Save £8.96) $20/€16 approx (ends 31/03/2018)

About this book

Insects will be appearing on our store shelves, menus, and plates within the decade. In The Insect Cookbook, two entomologists and a chef make the case for insects as a sustainable source of protein for humans and a necessary part of our future diet. They provide consumers and chefs with the essential facts about insects for culinary use, with recipes simple enough to make at home yet boasting the international flair of the world's most chic dishes. Insects are delicious and healthy. A large proportion of the world's population eats them as a delicacy. In Mexico, roasted ants are considered a treat, and the Japanese adore wasps.

Insects not only are a tasty and versatile ingredient in the kitchen, but also are full of protein. Furthermore, insect farming is much more sustainable than meat production. The Insect Cookbook contains delicious recipes; interviews with top chefs, insect farmers, political figures, and nutrition experts (including chef Rene Redzepi, whose establishment was elected three times as "best restaurant of the world"; Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations; and Daniella Martin of Girl Meets Bug); and all you want to know about cooking with insects, teaching twenty-first-century consumers where to buy insects, which ones are edible, and how to store and prepare them at home and in commercial spaces.

"An attractive mixture of background information on insects, their anatomy, history of use in food and other products, food culture, recipes and interviews, Van Huis' book is very carefully prepared and a pleasure to read."
– Job Ubbink, Food Concept & Physical Design "The Mill", Switzerland

"The book is beautifully presented, well-written, and has a variety of authorities to support its case that we need to consider incorporating insects into our diets for ecological reasons."
– Theresia de Vroom, Marymount Institute for Faith

" [...] [E]ntomologists Arnold van Huis and Marcel Dicke team up with chef Henk van Gurp for a pragmatic introduction to entomophagy, covering insect farming, nutrition and cuisine. Tarte tatin with chocolate-coated grasshoppers? With 2 billion of us already popping mealworms and more, this is a case of joining the crowd."
– Barbara Kiser, Nature

"This thoroughly enjoyable entomophagy primer is much more than a cookbook and, due to its interesting vignette style, keeps the reader's attention firmly fixed throughout. It pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable – an important thing to do at a time of such radical environmental destruction [...] this could constitute the next great culinary revolution."

"Excellent and fascinating [...] Insects have the potential to come to the rescue and the sooner we get used to the idea, the better!"
– Food Security

"The Insect Cookbook is a fascinating read and an excellent introduction to the topic of entomophagy. It offers not only an unusual lens through which to view broader debates and food security and the resource efficiency of our current food system, but also a recipe for fried tarantulas."
– Gastronomica

"Our food future is here and needs to be embraced. This book will [...] start you down the road of culinary adventures."
– Explorer's Journal



1. Insects: Essential and Delicious
Six Legs and Other Features
Eating Insects: “A Question of Education”, by Kofi Annan
Cooking with Edible Insects
“You Have to Eat Away the Fear”, by Pierre Wind
Everyone Eats Insects
Shrimp or Grasshopper?
“I Could Eat Insects Anytime, Day or Night”, by Harmke Klunder
Weaver Ants in Asia
Wasp Larvae in Japan
Termites: A Royal Meal
Lake Flies in East Africa
“The Tortillas from Way Back When”, by Edoardo Ramos Anaya
Spirited Caterpillars in Mexico
Long-Horned Grasshoppers in East Africa
“Insects Are Buzzing All Around Me”, by Johan Verbon
Recipes: Five Snacks
Mexican Chapulines
Dim Sum
Bitterbug Bites
Bugsit Goreng (Fried Wontons)
Mini Spring Rolls

2. Is It Healthy?
Fish Friday, Meatloaf Wednesday, Insect Tuesday, by Margot Calis
“A World That Works”, by Marian Peters
Eating Insects Safely
What Kinds of Insects Can Be Eaten?
Insect Consumption and Health
Recipes: Five Appetizers
Flower Power Salad
Thai Salad
Vegetable Carpaccio
Pumpkin Soup
Couscous Salad

3. Eating Insects: Naturally!
“Some People Won’t Try Anything New”, by Jan Ruig
Recipes: Eleven Entrées
Tagliatelle with Creamy Herb Sauce
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Hakuna Matata
Chili con Carne
Chop Suey
Insect Burgers
“Valuable, Abundant, and Available to Everybody”, by Daniella Martin
“Bonbon Sauterelle”, by Robèrt Van Beckhoven
Cochineal from Peru
Maggot Cheese in Sardinia
Palm Beetles in the Tropics
Dragonfly Larvae in China
Recipes: Five Festive Dishes
Hopper Kebabs
“An Exploration of Deliciousness”, by René Redzepi
“The Next Generation’s Shrimp Cocktail”, by Katja Gruijters
Spiders in Cambodia
Moths in Italy and Australia
Recipes: Six Desserts
Chocolate Cupcakes
Tarte Tatin
Chocolate Cake
Buffalo Snaps
Buffalo Cinnamon Cookies

4. On the Future and Sustainability
Mopane Caterpillars in Southern Africa
Silk Moth Pupae in China
Food for Astronauts
“I’ve Always Put Everything in My Mouth”, by Jan Fabre
Shellac from India
Jumping Plant Lice in South Africa and Australia
Insects: A Sustainable Alternative to Meat
“A New Episode in the History of Our Civilization”, by Herman Wijffels
Insect Consumption: A Global Perspective, by Paul Vantomme
Insect Consumption: The Future

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Arnold van Huis is professor of tropical entomology at Wageningen University and is a consultant on insects as food and feed to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Henk van Gurp is a cooking instructor at the Rijn IJssel Hotel and Tourism School in Wageningen and has been involved with entomophagy (the eating of insects) for almost twenty years.

Marcel Dicke is professor of entomology at Wageningen University and Rhodes Professor at Cornell University. In 2006, he and his team organized the Wageningen – City of Insects festival.

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