A recent UN report suggested that world hunger could be eased if we just ate more insects. Wasps, beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars are nutritious, so the experts argued, loaded as they are with protein and minerals. The downside is they're minging, as most people pointed out once they'd stopped with the dry heaves.
We only have to watch low level celebrities hoping to resurrect their careers with a stint in the jungle Down Under to know that a Witchetty Grub isn't as appealing as a waffle. But before we dismiss the recommendation, I'd like to use the opportunity to propose an alternative. It's one that's also regarded as a little unconventional, and though I've never tried it I'm just putting it out there. Once consumers get over their misgivings, and recognise what a cheap and convenient meal deal this could be, I believe they'll take to it with the same appetite once displayed by our ancestors.
The concept came to me during research for my new novel. The Savages opens the door on a family who consider their carnivorous eating habits to be 'evolved'. They pursue normal, everyday lives, shop at the supermarket for standard weekday suppers, and yet when it comes to the roast, which is always cooked to perfection, the family take things to extremes.
Like the head of the Savage household, I'm reluctant to use the C word. It's so vulgar, and only conjures up images of missionaries simmering until tender in cauldrons. Nevertheless, it's in our genes, with cases of people turning on each other going back to Neanderthal times. Only recently, in fact, it was uncovered that the first English settlers in America butchered meat from human bones. It might be unpalatable to many, but like Top Gear, Manchester United and One Direction we're talking about yet another export that took off on foreign shores. So, with an increasing world population, and food shortages a growing problem, isn't it time we resurrected the practice? Here's my case in three bite-sized points:
People are in plentiful supply
We're not like caviar or truffles. The planet is teeming with homo sapiens. If we started picking off our own kind for the table, we'd be solving two global problems at the same time. Yes, vegetarians and vegans tend to let their conscience inform their eating habits, but this takes things one step further. In generations to come, in a world where we're no longer living on top of each other, we could be considered as true humanitarians.
People are free range
As a species, we like to roam wherever we please, pursuing goals in life that help us to feel happy and fulfilled, and that has to be evident in the quality of the meat. There'd be no need for industrial battery farms churning out pre-packaged cuts of creatures that existed in misery throughout their short lives. With the greed for profit gone, nor would there be any temptation to bulk out the product with horse. In short, here's our opportunity to make such terrible practices a thing of the past.
People sometimes deserve nothing less
Admit it, there's bound to be someone you know who would look good on a roasting tray, tightly trussed and with an apple in their mouth. We're not talking about eating just anybody, after all. Like The Savage family, it's important that we choose to slaughter only those who have caused us problems. A difficult boss, perhaps, cold callers or litterbugs. When you consider it in this light, wouldn't a plate of honey roast sticky ribs taste twice as nice?
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