Most foodies with refined palates and a keen eye towards all things trendy and new wouldn’t think twice about eating a dish that had a major component of it comprised of insects, larvae, or any matter of creepy crawlies. But with food production needing to increase over the next thirty-five years by 70% to keep up with population growth (especially in impoverished third world countries), the time is now to seriously consider making bugs an intricate part of diets around the world, and most of these insects are far more delectable and sought after than one might think.
For the entertaining and well researched documentary Bugs, director Andreas Johnsen (Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case) follows a trio of gastronomic researchers working out of the Nordic Food Lab in Denmark, an offshoot of Noma, arguably the world’s most famous restaurant. They travel the world digging for termites in Africa, researching cheese making techniques with flies in Italy, and wasp hunting in Japan. They experiment by cooking in maggot fat, distilling ant gin, and any number of things that hardier souls would never have thought to attempt.
Johnsen captures the infectious energy, creativity, and enthusiasm of the Food Lab Team, and it’s an eye opening experience that will make people think twice about the world around them. But more important than that is how Johnsen turns Bugs into a prescient discussion about how to cultivate this previously maligned food source with an eye towards quality and sustainability. Major corporations are already trying to get on the bug train with an eye towards mass production and the corner cutting that comes with it, and the subjects of the film want people to know what to look for in their food before it’s ruined like almost every other food source humans have.