Western media, please stop saying you are eating bugs to “prepare for the apocalypse.” It’s not original. It’s not funny. And, most of all, it’s highly offensive. Edible insects may strike us in the Western world as “bizarre food” or “future food” or not even food at all (the phrase “edible insects” has an inherent bias considering we don’t refer to vegetables as “edible plants”), but it’s totally normal to eat insects in many parts of the world, just not ours.
Every time we say something like, “I’m going to eat bugs to prepare for the apocalypse,” what it means to millions of people all over Asia, Africa, and Latin America is, “The food you eat is so repulsive to me I will deign to eat it only if humanity is facing an extinction.”
I get it. I used to make that joke too. A few years ago, I posted a video on Instagram with a similar caption. The video was of me in Bangkok, eating foods that my U.S. friends would consider shocking: crickets, grasshoppers, bamboo caterpillars, and skewered chicken hearts. I’ve since taken the video down because, as my awareness grew, it made me uncomfortable that the punchline was the culturally bigoted assumption that what I was eating was some kind of inedible last resort. It’s not. It’s normal. I bought it right outside my apartment. And it’s good. Actually, I love eating chicken hearts, bamboo caterpillars, and grasshoppers. (I don’t love the crickets. I only like them.)
The point is, who am I to decide what’s edible and what’s not? Who are we to point at something considered ordinary or even a delicacy in more parts of the world than it isn’t and say we’d only eat it if it were the last food on Earth?