Pest Control’s Pestaurant
One of the UK’s leading pest control companies has taken up bug eating. Although a PR stunt, Rentokil has found their insect snacks to be too popular for their supply chain.
Two weeks ago Rentokil showed off their sense of humour by offering free insect snacks to those who dare ate them – the same insects that they are often employed to remove and exterminate from the hidden dark corners of your house or office.
Saucy, interesting, seductive, The Evening Standard’s page 3 promoted the event, based on the bypass beside One New Square, beside St. Paul’s, in their Monday 12 August edition. As I work nearby, I felt this would the perfect opportunity to introduce my work colleagues to the world of eating insects.
The invite was sent, and not many RSVP’ed with “attending”, but a brave bunch of five did. “Meet outside our office at 13:00” I wrote. Nervous “Ok”, “Alright” and “Really!?” I got back, hesitant that we were actually going to go.
Rentokil had decided to open the pop-up at 10:30 that morning. However, very unfortunately, we arrived just as they run out of insects. When I asked one of the Rentokil ‘pest-chefs’ whether any more may be coming, I got a reply that they had tried, but the stock had run out due to the demand. I think everyone was surprised.
ANYWAY, thank god it was such a success! Rentokil found it to be so popular, that they decided to host another pop-up in London’s Science Museum, and I have just got back from it.
This time, knowing that it would be just as busy as the one at St. Paul’s, I was ready and waiting from the start.
As we queued, mixed bugs were passed around by pest-chefs. While being ‘forced’ to listen to an eager foody lecture on how she had tried monkey brain and donkey phallis, and that “I did not like it, BUT I DID IT!” (this was reiterated several times), the rest of us were able to munch on barbecued flavoured bamboo worms and salted mixed worms. Salty, a bit nutty, and not something I would go back for.
The queue went one, and so I met a couple. They were far more adventurous than I. I told them about my interest, and that I would love to start my own business to make insects a more commercial food. No doubt they were riveted.
A few further steps along in the queue and we were presented with a water bug – it’s a biggy:
Now I am keen on these bugs; at least in terms of getting them to be accepted and not being any stranger to eat than shellfish. However, this water bug trumped me.
It’s shell was hard, it’s eyes were big enough to make eye contact with, and it was easy to imagine it sprinting across a floor in a scary, unpredictable, insect way. Eventually, encouraged by my new friends – who had eaten one between them – I chomped at its head.
So apart from the unappetising look that an insect has, the issue with which I have my real problem with insects is as follows: Many compare prawns, shrimps and lobsters as being the insects of the sea. I agree, however the insects of the sea have a fleshy bite to them, which the insects of the land crucially, and to their great detriment, lack. I have yet to find an insect that gives back a meaty texture when bitten into, but instead the insects have a texture of shell – the sensation of gnawing on crab shell is similar – and not satisfying.
With the water bug being the size of a King Prawn, I had thought that this may be the one to show me the meatiness of an insect. No.
More insects were tried, and although Rentokil have done an awesome two events with their Pestaurant, they have not yet convinced me that there is a way to make bugs taste moorish, nor give it a gratifying texture to your tongue.