Food Delirium

Buckeye Farm Beat

How will we feed all those people? Insects?

Published on: March 4, 2011

Food. I am swirling in this whirlpool of food thoughts. Maybe it’s because I am participating in a biggest loser contest and after a month and 10 pounds shed, I am getting delirious. Or may be it is because I attended a conference this week called “Bringing it to the Table: New Recipes for the Food Chain.” Or maybe it was the Wall Street Journal report I read about eating insects. Or may be it was the incredible Ruth Chris Steak House filet mignon I had for dinner on Monday. Or was it the Cajun alligator sausage I ate in the French Quarter of New Orleans this weekend while attending a college golf tournament last weekend?

I am not even sure where to start. At the conference I recall Dr. Ken Lee, director of the OSU Food Innovation Center, saying 40% of Ohioans were obese – one of the highest percentages of any state. Then on the way home I listened to an NPR report about how 20% of Ohioans worried about getting enough food to eat everyday.

Then after reading in the WSJ about the young folks in San Francisco who are serving gourmet dinners of crouton-crusted meal worms and Kentucky fried crickets, I clicked upon a television interview with the very same crew describing their worm farms and crickets hutches as “the farms and ranches of tomorrow.” The shows host was biting into the cakes and patties created by the entomo-chefs and saying stuff like – “Yuhmmm the savor of mushroom with a touch of nuts – and the texture of shrimp – and the protein. I can’t imagine anything better than a crispy cricket.”

So let me tell you about the Ruth Chris steak. It was covered with grilled shrimp and cooked to perfection. It was tender enough to cut with a fork I suppose, but I used a steak knife. There were grilled mushrooms on the side and mashed potatoes. It was a little red and mostly pink. Meat and potatoes. The plate was 500 degrees. Talk about juicy.

How could anyone eat insects? Will our kids be eating insects? Will they be farming them in trays in a lab barn? Will they eat them with spoons or their fingers? Will they need toothpicks afterwards?

So at the conference, John Blakely with Idea Firm LLC, reminded the group that many great ideas came from accidents. The microwave happened because someone was carrying a radon tube that melted plastic and potato chips were retaliation against someone telling the chef his potatoes were always soggy. And Steven Spielberg learned how to portray the terror of a shark attack in Jaws without showing a shark because the damn thing was always breaking down and he had to improvise.

Then Mary McMillen with Certified Angus Beef relayed to us how the CAB brand was originally begun in 1970 because some cattlemen started talking about a bad piece of beef and wondered how they could work together to make sure all the steaks were good. “It’s Oreo cookies for beef,” she said.

Oreo cookies nothing. We are taking steak – rib-eye or filet mignon. Alligator sausage is delicious. Maybe well prepared meal worms are too, but I’m not there yet.

Back to Ken Lee who noted that we are 6 billion people on earth today and going to be 9 billion by 2050. It’s a lot of people. It’s a lot of food. We’ll need to innovate.

It’s time for me to go have some pizza. But not too much I am trying to be the biggest loser.