shutterstock_202303048

A Presentation at the Royal Society

Many great names in science have presented at the Royal Society in London. Newton, Franklin, Darwin, and, in February, our own Jenny Josephs. Admittedly, she was not there to present a novel thesis, but to teach an audience of children and adults about eating insects as part of the Parent Carer Scientist project launch.
2016-03-05 14.26.13
Nonetheless the event was as grand as you might expect. Sumptuous carpets, dignified oil portraits frowning down from the walls, etc. It was a genuine privilege (and great fun) to work in these surroundings, and the audience was fantastic. It can be quite a challenge to simplify a talk well enough that children are engaged but their parents aren’t bored, but this event was extremely rewarding. The kids learned so much and asked so many great questions, then afterwards Jenny got the chance to speak individually to well-respected scientists and audience members, all of whom complimented her on the inspiring presentation. As a parting gift the RS gave Jenny a lovely bag printed with a flea design which she got to make herself.
bugs
This time we were fully prepared in terms of catering, with plenty of tasty and fun child-appropriate snacks. Falafels, buffalo worm flapjacks, pork and mealworm sausage rolls, and of course toasted soy mealworms and crickets made a spread so enticing that a lot of the (delicious!) food catered by the Royal Society ended up going uneaten. This is not quite the message of sustainability we try to promote! We took home many of the leftovers to share with friends but it was still a shame to see so much food going to waste. We hope that through our work we can help to make people more mindful of what they consume and what they waste. There are so many better uses for food than throwing it away!
02027_theamazingmacrolife_1366x854
spices

Interview and Tasting on CBBC Newsround

It’s been such a hectic few months here at the Bug Shack that we’ve barely been able to keep you all updated! But while Jenny is in Thailand researching the many joys that international entomophagy has to offer we at home thought we should bring you up to speed!

Way back in October Jenny was invited to a live TV interview and bug-tasting for CBBC Newsround. This a very exciting opportunity to publicise the health and sustainability benefits of eating insects, and all the folk at the BBC were enthusiastic and friendly. Jenny even had someone to do her makeup!

IMG_20151012_083353695 (1)

Official!

The aim was to discuss new EFSA documentation which came out around the same time, ruling that insects are indeed safe to eat and farm in the EU. The takeaway point for the kids watching at home was that some bugs can and should be eaten, but that you shouldn’t eat them straight out of the garden because you don’t know what the bugs have been eating.

IMG_20151012_075709299

Unfortunately the invitation came at extremely short notice so there was no time to whip up some delicious falafel, muffins, or sausage rolls. Instead we took along some soy-sauce roasted mealworms, and they had some grasshoppers from another company. While these are quite tasty in their own right they do look rather dry and present more of a psychological barrier as they are quite obviously bugs! While the cameramen were up for the challenge the poor presenter Leah found it rather more difficult. In the linked video she makes some quite impressive faces, which doesn’t really bring across a positive message! After sipping some water though she admitted it wasn’t the taste at fault, but the mental barrier of munching on creepy-crawlies.

Watch the interview and tasting here!

Cafe Scientific

Last night’s talk was a lot of fun! I was told to expect about 20 to 40 people, but ended up getting at least 50.

A show of hands at the end of the night revealed that 90% of those attending tried the mealworm snacks I brought to try. I had one very disappointed customer (a chef) who was unable to try my snacks as he was allergic to shellfish (people who have this allergy are often allergic to insects as well).

I had a very engaged audience from backgrounds ranging from civil engineering to biomedical sciences and clinical neurophysiology.

Some great questions were asked at the end and I will attempt to compile these in a future post.

Now I am off to cook several insect dishes for my pop-up shop at the University of Southampton tomorrow.