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News Story
8 February 2021

Cricket cakes and grasshopper delight: new African cookbooks showcase recipes with insects

Stink bugs

Photo: Eugene Ncube, Chinhoyi University of Technology (private consultation)

Two new cookbooks– Secrets of African Edible Insect Cookery and Les Délices de Mikese (“Mikese’s Delicacies”), written by authors from Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo, integrate traditional African culinary knowledge of cooking with insects into contemporary recipes.

The cookbooks are part of a wider effort to increase the consumption of insects in modern-day Africa. Here, such traditional culinary practices have decreased over time because they are seen as outdated and belonging to rural areas. The books also seek to showcase the potential Africa has in leading a more widespread consumption of insects. This is in response to the growing worldwide interest in using insects as a source of dietary protein.

“There is a need to renew the narrative surrounding insect consumption,”
-Dr. Robert Musundire

Trader at the edible insect market in Chinhoyi town, Zimbabwe

Photo: Robert Musundire, Chinhoyi University of Technology

Collaborations and project directions

The cookbooks were created through a collaborative effort involving the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and African partners in academia and the private sector. The project, “Edible Insects for Food Security and Health – from Practice to Evidence and Policy Implications”, is part of the broader, ongoing AgriFoSe2030 programme, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The project has an aim of improving livelihoods of small-scale rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting their production and processing of edible insects.

Secrets of African Edible Insect Cookery emerged from a project partnership with Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe. In Chinhoyi, this project has helped expand know-how and infrastructure of edible insect markets and value chains.

Les Délices de Mikese was an outcome of a collaboration focused on conveying valuable knowledge held by African women of edible insect cookery. The cookbook was developed through the combined efforts of the women’s organization, L’Association des Femmes d’Affaires du Congo, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and the sustainable development consultancy agency, BKind Konsult AB.

“It is rare to find a cookbook written by African women about local African cuisine.”
-Dr. Linley Chiwona-Karltun

This article is based on a feature story written by Ebba Engström, Karen Brandon and Anneli Sundin, originally published on the SEI website. Continue reading here.