I haven’t had this much fun reading non-fiction… EVER. Edible is funny and engaging, and I would totally credit my first bug-eating experience to this book if I hadn’t already eaten that chocolate-covered bug in my college psychology class (mmmm!). Martin’s informal style and witty humor is a much welcomed addition to the non-fiction world, and I’m positive that I would have had the same amount of fun if she’d written about quantum physics or contemporary art (or any other subject that I normally balk at). But long story short: bugs are awesome and yummy! Give them (and your stomach) a chance!
Daniella Martin ate her first bug (roasted grasshoppers!) in Mexico while doing her BA in cultural anthropology. Although she wasn’t too impressed with how it tasted, Martin was fascinated by the nutritional, environmental, and economical benefits of eating bugs. From visiting insect farms to dining with insect-eating experts to hosting bar-bug-cues (grilled shish kebugs, anyone?), Martin provides compelling evidence in support of eating bugs. Edible also includes useful information such as “How to Raise Bugs at Home,” “The Essential List of Edible Insects,” and “Delectable Edible Insect Recipes” for those who want to go all out after reading this book.
Martin is a great storyteller – she talks to you like a friend would, with all the excitement of having discovered something really cool and awesome. She’s an unlikely participant in the bug-eating deal, though, which makes Edible that much more compelling.
Despite my love of intensely flavored foods, I am a cautious person, a bit of a hypochondriac, and gastrointestinally sensitive. I’m allergic to alcohol and lactose intolerant, and breakfast cereal has been known to give me a stomachache.
Even though Martin considers herself cautious, she doesn’t seem to be from all the experiences she’s shared in this book. She touches bugs willingly, for one – I think there are a lot of people who shudder just at the thought of bugs, myself included. (I’ve talked about creating a bug-specific exterminator previously where I can get rid of bugs in my house just by the press of a button.)
Oh, how times have changed: When an early female hominid saw a bug and shrieked, it was in excitement, because hey, lunch.
Edible has a go-with-the-flow feel to it; Martin states the problems the human race is facing right now in regards to running out of food and land and pretty much everything else, but the rest of the chapters jump around through a bunch of different topics. What ties the book together is Martin’s entertaining voice and great analogies. This girl makes science fun!
Nutrition is sort of like money: If leaves represent dollar bills, fruits are fives, nuts are tens, and insects, and other forms of animal flesh, are crisp hundred-dollar bills.
And there’s so much useful information in Edible that leaves you with no excuses to not start raising, cooking, and eating bugs. Martin provides a nutritional table comparing nutrients in bugs versus different kinds of meat, and I was definitely surprised by how nutrient-dense bugs are. I was also very surprised by many other facts that Martin pull out. If I learned absolutely nothing from this book, I’d still remember that honey is really bee-vomit. Oh, and that my beloved peanut butter has insect fragments in it. (So does yours, by the way. But your peanut butter is really my peanut butter, so…)
Overall, Edible does a great job at showcasing the benefits of eating bugs without coming off as desperate or demanding. Martin’s writing style is entertaining and makes this information-dense book a really fun read. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s even a little teeny weeny bit curious about eating bugs, because Edible is truly mind-opening.