Friday, August 09, 2013

Maggots - The Next Gourmet Experience?

Wired reports: [edited]

Designer Katharina Unger is on a mission to make eating insects irresistible.

The recent graduate from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and current Fulbright Scholar devoted her thesis project, called Farm 432: Insect Breeding, to developing an appliance that incubates insects for human consumption. The striking blue and white vessel is stocked with one gram of black soldier fly eggs, and over a period of 18 days, the eggs move through the device’s chambers, gestating, reproducing, and ultimately producing 2.4 kilograms of nutritious, if slightly nauseating, fly larva.

Unger didn’t stop at growing the flies — she also developed recipes, including a stellar tomato and larva risotto, to help make the icky output more enticing. She’s now working out how changing the diet of the larva would impact taste. “I always speculated what happened if I gave them just one specific type of food,” she says. “Maybe you could make them taste like strawberries?”

Turning insects into a protein powder or peanut butter like substance could help introduce edible insects to the mass market more smoothly, but Unger wanted her project to make a statement. “I felt it would be inconsequential to suddenly hide the main product away,” she says. “In the end it is not only about producing food, but also about the adventure of growing live animals in your home!”

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