The Fly

My children were fighting over dead flies yesterday. They came charging into my office arguing over why Elizabeth should have three dead flies and Daniel only one. I looked at them in disbelief and with more than a little exasperation said, “Children, you’re fighting over dead flies!!!”. Daniel immediately realised the absurdity of the situation and walked away laughing, leaving Elizabeth as sole lord of the flies. Now she has five of them:


A little home was made for them and they were carefully carried about from one room to another. Then this evening I found myself eating dinner next to the five flies and it was a little off-putting. Why? What is it about insects that we find so repulsive?

Insects are a wonderful source of protein, they are rich in iron and zinc, they take up less land space than and have lower greenhouse gas emissions than livestock, and can be fed on rubbish, scraps, and even manure. Some 2 billion people on the planet already consume insects yet we in the West can’t stomach them. This has got to change. We can’t sustain 9 billion people on an American-style diet heavily dependent on livestock.

I read a good article on Medium today about the problem: Lovely grub: are insects the future of food?. The solution to our cultural bias, according to the article, is to disguise insects in food. This seems like a winning strategy to me. While I can’t bring myself to cook Elizabeth’s flies (she’d be heartbroken if I did anyway), I could probably manage to gag something down that was made with cricket flour.

Hopefully I won’t have any nightmares about Jeff Goldblum tonight 🙂