BUZZ FEED
If, as some experts say, bugs are the future of food, FIT is ready

Advertising and Marketing Communications Professor Michael Cokkinos serves up edible Asian forest scorpions.

It’s true that FIT is committed to sustainability as one of its core principles. It’s also true that some futurists are predicting that the world’s growing population may need to turn to insects as a cheap, protein-rich, and environmentally friendly source of food. But let’s face it: That’s not the only reason Hue staged a bug-tasting event on campus. We also thought it would be fun. Gross, maybe, but fun. And so, on May 16 during Common Hour, we set up signs on the breezeway announcing “Eat a Bug, Save the Planet.” We weren’t sure FIT was ready for insect foods, even if freshly prepared and free. But students (always hungry, often broke, and definitely game) were lining up by the time Michael Cokkinos, professor of Advertising and Marketing Communications and advisor to FIT’s Culinary Arts Club, fired up the hot plate.

Cokkinos, in his white chef’s coat, cracked corny jokes and cooked up dish after dish—cricket tacos, water-scorpion omelet, desert scorpion and silkworm-larva stir-fry. He explained, seriously, that raising large numbers of animals for food takes a terrible toll on the environment. Insects, already eaten by 80 percent of the world’s people, could be the answer.

So how did they taste? Opinions varied. Grassy, nutty, like sunflower seeds, dried mushrooms, bacon. “Like liver, and I’m not a fan of liver.”

Cricket tacos

“Ugh, I can’t even look at it,” said Michael Nieto, Production Management, slightly green. But his friend said, “You gotta do
it, dude,” so he took a bite of grasshopper nacho, with a little jalapeno. “The texture’s freakin’ me out a little bit, but when
you get past that….”

Some students were purely practical. “I have no food left in my dorm, so I’d eat more,” Maria Parfenov, Textile/Surface Design, said.

Cricket taco

“No big deal,” said Tardis Johnson, associate dean for academic support, scooping up a handful of crunchy crickets. “I eat bugs all the time.”

“I would eat a full meal of this,” said Tiara Simatupang, AMC, sampling the cricket fried rice.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Sahara Pagan, AMC, said.

Carlos Macias, a print-shop manager, munched casually on a big, black scorpion. (An arachnid, not an insect, but impressively creepy-crawly.) Born in Mexico, Macias said bugs are a popular food back home. “[Eating insects] used to be more for the farmers. Now in big cities they have restaurants that just serve bugs,” he said, adding, “I’ll try anything that moves.”

“Wow, that’s a snack!” one student said, popping a silkworm larva. His friend made a face. “I can’t eat that,” he said. “I’m vegan.”

 

Photos: Smiljana Peros

Professor Michael Cokkinos cooks up buggy treats for a sometimes skeptical crowd.Professor Michael Cokkinos cooks up buggy treats for a sometimes skeptical crowd.
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Cricket fried riceCricket fried rice
Chocolate-covered scorpions and chocolate wafers made with ants were popular. “Like a Kit Kat,” one student said.Chocolate-covered scorpions and chocolate wafers made with ants were popular. “Like a Kit Kat,” one student said.
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Al Romano, chair of Advertising and Marketing Communications, crunches an Asian forest scorpion.Al Romano, chair of Advertising and Marketing Communications, crunches an Asian forest scorpion.
A sizzling pan of silkworm larvae and Asian forest scorpions...delicious!A sizzling pan of silkworm larvae and Asian forest scorpions...delicious!