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The Bug Banquet: Serving Sustainability in a Cricket Pesto Flatbread


“You’re invited to the Bug Banquet,” the email read. Ewwww! Must I go? I am psychologically averse to insects, but as a good sport, I’ll try.

The Bug Banquet is a culinary exploration of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects. It was created as an “experience” to help guests enjoy insects as food. Founders Chloé Bulpin, a senior at at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Alex Gandarillas and Matt Kominsky, two Johnson & Wales University culinary students, believe in the power of visual imagery to educate.

The intriguing menu was served cocktail style and the presentation was gorgeous.

  • Pesto Flatbread: cricket pesto, mozzarella and artichokes
  • Tempura Skewers: crickets, silkworms and scallions with a spicy sriracha sauce
  • Watermelon and Waterbugs: compressed watermelon, apple and waterbug
  • Spicy Silkworm: Korean-style marinated silkworms with hummus and roasted cauliflower
  • Dark Chocolate-Coated Crickets
  • Sundae Shooters: waterbug ice cream, caramel, and banana
  • Several different cookies and tarts made with cricket flour

How did the creations taste? The comment most often overheard was, “I would never have known.” Ground crickets in pesto tasted “like escargot.” Waterbugs had a “floral extract that is not off-putting.” Roasted crickets tasted “like roasted fava beans with a crunchy outside and a mushy middle.” Dark Chocolate-Coated Crickets were “reminiscent of a Ferrero Rocher candy.”
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Bike Commuters Rejoice! Protected Lanes Proven Effective

green bike lanes

Have you ever been driving down a road and totally blind-sided by a biker? Or have you been that biker who feels unsafe peddling down certain streets? A new research study released this week by Portland Statue University is hoping to prevent either scenario from happening.

The study examines new protected bike lanes installed by PeopleforBikes and the Green Lane Project throughout each of five chosen locations: Austin, Chicago, Portland, OR, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These bike lanes (often painted bright green!) are separated from the regular traffic by curbs, parked cars, posts, or planters in efforts to organize the street and make it safer for all. These protected bike lanes are new to the US, so little research has been done on their effectiveness. Until now.

The study targeted one or two lanes in each city and set up video surveillance primarily at intersections to evaluate their effectiveness and overall usage. They also surveyed bicyclists, drivers, and nearby residents to get personal and practical feedback on their implementation and affect on the community.

What did they find? Here are some of the staggering stats:

Food Blogger Spotlight: Jenny from Nourished Kitchen

jenny cropAt Nourished Kitchen the motto is “Reviving traditional foods,” but for Jenny and her husband, it’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s a way of life. Together, they manage a farmers market in Colorado where they pride themselves on connecting small family farms, providing free nutrient-dense foods to low-income residents and funneling sustainably grown local products into the community food bank.

The recipes shared on Nourished Kitchen run the gamut from warm and savory to absolutely adventurous. Have you ever cooked with ghee, sprouted spelt, rendered duck fat or created your own fermented food starter? In the Nourished Kitchen Shopping Guide, Jenny describes some of her more creative ingredients and guides readers on where to find them. The site also offers meal plans, workshops and online cooking classes.

Our conversation with Jenny -

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McDonald’s Commits to Serving Certified Sustainable Seafood at All Locations

McDonald’s isn’t usually one to make headlines for positive news, but that’s just what they’ve done this week. The company announced yesterday that it will commit to serving only certified-sustainable seafood at all of its locations, making it the first U.S. national restaurant chain to do so.

This, of course, is big news for sustainability advocates as McDonald’s is the one of the largest single buyers of fish in the U.S.

Consumers will notice the change not only in the company’s packaging, which will now include a blue ecolabel of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). But also in a marketing effort which will roll out as soon as the changes are official in early February. In addition to their famous Filet-O-Fish sandwich, McDonald’s will also launch a new product called Fish McBites, which will be made with MSC-certified, wild-caught Alaska pollock.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the MSC is an independent non-profit organization that sets standards for sustainable fishing based on the impacts a fishery has on its ecosystem, its fish stock health, and its fishery management system.
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Source a Sustainably Raised Turkey for Thanksgiving

More than 250 million turkeys are slaughtered in the industrial system each year in the United States, and about 46 million of those are for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful, warm holiday, full of family time, great traditions and good food. Unfortunately, there are many not-so-good things about the Thanksgiving turkeys most grocery stores offer to their customers.

The status quo for raising turkeys and other meat birds is the industrial, factory farming system. The conditions in which factory farmed turkeys are raised is horrendous. It’s cramped, with each bird given about 3 feet of space to live its life. So that these cramped and stressed turkeys won’t turn to pecking at each other, prior to confinement their beaks and the tips of their toes are cut off (processes some liken to having the tips of a child’s fingers and toes chopped off). These turkeys, raised in gigantic warehouses, are denied their natural instincts and can’t eat their natural diet of seeds, vegetation and insects. They’re also bred to grow so rapidly that it puts an incredible strain on their bodies. Some researchers estimate that factory farmed turkeys spend at least a third of their lives in chronic pain.

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