I am commonly asked "why don't we eat bugs in Western cultures," and the answer is quite complicated. I usually start with the environment - outside of the tropics, insects are less abundant and much more seasonal. Since this is also true of plant foods in these regions, the first people to make lives for themselves in northern environments had to rely on hunting since animals can eat the woody plant browse foods that we cannot digest; and then we can eat them. So in these diets, insects would be nutritionally redundant. However, in recent years, I have been getting better at decoloninizing anthropology and make it a point to also mention how here in the United States, when Europeans came to this continent with their insect-free diets, they were appalled that indigenous diets included insects and considered it part of their beast-like nature (Columbus used the phrase como bestias). Although rarely discussed, Columbus used these beliefs as justification for establishing the trade of indigenous islanders as slaves.
I have upcoming publications that detail this history more thoroughly, but my point here is that
how we talk about food matters.
Someone left a comment on my youtube video - "Sorry, you'll never get us to back to 10,000 BCE." And once I had to answer to someone live on air in a radio interview who made a comment about "devolution." What these kinds of remarks fail to recognize is that billions of people today eat insects. These are people just the same as you and me. They are not relics of the stone age nor are they less evolved, they are people representing the beautiful things that make us human; the ability to exhibit dietary flexibility in order to make lives for ourselves in a wide range of environments.
Remembering back to that radio interview, I am proud of what I said when put on the spot. I made the counter-argument that people who eat insects have been using their resources much more wisely than we have been which is why we are looking to their food choices as alternatives to the industries we've created that are destroying the environment. Their way of life is much more sustainable, and the only reason why it might not appear that way is because Western culture has been pushed on them for hundreds of years.
When I give talks and offer insect-based snacks, it does not matter to me if people will not try them; however, I ask people to respect them. Our aversions and disgust reactions are culturally based, and we are products of our culture and thus it is completely normal to have those responses. But we do not need to degrade others with our choices. Insects are a nutritious, environmentally friendly food source that people have been wise to utilize for millions of years. Instead of asking "why don't we eat insects" the better question may be "why did we stop eating insects?" which can only be answered by addressing our colonial history.