TIME Diet/Nutrition

20 Delicious Bug Recipes from Chefs

Bug appetit! Here's how Rick Bayless and Curtis Stone like their insects

Environmentalists and foodies alike have been hailing bugs as the future of eco-friendly protein. That’s great news for chefs and bug scientists with a taste for insects, including Marcel Dicke, an ecological entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands who gave a 2010 TED talk called “Why Not Eat Insects?” (His dish of choice: dragonfly larvae.)

But recent news that eating crickets might not be as sustainable as we thought—they can’t, it turns out, survive on a diet of straight food waste—hasn’t dampened Dicke’s enthusiasm for insects as the future of food. “Different insect species have different feed requirements,” he says. “The fact that several large insect farms have recently been set up in the U.S., South Africa and the Netherlands—using organic side streams—shows that insects can be reared on such substrates.” Crickets, and 2,000 species of their insect friends, are currently being consumed around the world, Dicke says, and can make “a very good contribution to a sustainable food security.”

So we went to celebrity chefs and bug enthusiasts for advice on the tastiest way to prepare them.

  • Chef Aaron Sanchez’s Grasshopper ‘Bacon’ Bits

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    “Crispy grasshoppers, better known as Chapulines, are a delicacy in Oaxaca and are popular all over Mexico. They’re often eaten as a snack on their own or used as a toping to add crunch and texture, like we offer on our guacamole at [my restaurant] Johnny Sánchez. Think Mexican bacon bits. After being cleaned thoroughly, we toast them on a comal—a traditional Mexican griddle—with chili and lime to add spice and flavor. They’re absolutely delicious and are a great source of protein.”

    Aarón Sánchez is chef and partner at Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans

  • Chef Gordon’s Deep-Fried Tarantulas

    Chugrad McAndrews for The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, published by Ten Speed Press

    “First I freeze the spiders—a humane way to dispatch them—then I remove the abdomen, which is basically a fluid-filled sac, and singe off the body hairs, using a butane torch. I dip them in tempura batter and drop in hot oil. The end result looks good and tastes even better. I served these to guests, including astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, at the 111th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.”

    David George Gordon, known as the Bug Chef, is author of the Eat-a-Bug Cookbook: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and Their Kin

  • Meryl Natow’s Mealworm Arancini

    Meryl Natow

    “We’ve made mealworm lettuce wraps, cricket fried rice, and mealworm arancini, which taste just like typical arancini! If you didn’t know that insects were included, you probably never would guess. What’s great is the added protein helps keep you fuller longer.”

    Meryl Natow is the co-founder and creative director of Six Foods, a company that makes cricket-based tortilla chips

  • Chef Karen Barroso’s Garlicky Grasshopper Mix

    Guajillo

    “In Mexico, there are 398 different species of edible insects. Grasshoppers, or chapulines, are among the most traditional and can be found in the U.S. I like to sauté chapulines from Oaxaca with garlic cloves, chile de arbol oil, sea salt and Spanish peanuts. This is a traditional snack that you can find at the markets in Oaxaca. We serve it at the bar as an accompaniment for mezcal.”

    Karen Barroso is the owner and head chef of Guajillo in Arlington, VA

  • Chef Rick Bayless’ Worm-Salt Margarita

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    “You’ve probably had margaritas rimmed with salt, but what about a mezcal cocktail rimmed with sal de gusano, an Oaxacan chile-salt with pulverized with toasted maguey worms? Salty in flavor, the coarsely ground worms are the perfect accompaniment to a cocktail we call El Mural, made with mezcal, various citrus juices and agave syrup.”

    Rick Bayless is a chef, restaurateur, author and winner of Top Chef Masters 2009

  • Chef Laurent Quenioux’s Ant Larvae

    Laurent Quenioux

    “We make blinis with ant eggs and caviar, and a three-egg dish of escamoles, quail eggs and salmon roe. We have been making an escamole [ant larvae] quiche, and, using just the albumen that drains out when the eggs are frozen, meringue. Our signature dish is a corn tortilla resting on a nasturtium leaf and topped with escamoles sautéed in butter with epazote, shallots, and serrano chilis, served with a shot of Mexican beer and a lime gel.

    Their delicate eggy qualities, their wildness, their unexpected appearance—like condensed milk with little pebbles in it—and the responsibility I feel to train the American palate to accept them inspires me to do gastronomy with bugs. The insects will be the solution to feed all those masses, but how do you get insects on the daily table in America? In the last twenty years, we grew here in America from iceberg lettuce to baby frisée. Insects are like any other ingredient: a challenge and an opportunity.”

    Laurent Quenioux was the executive chef and owner of Bistro LQ in Los Angeles; he now operates pop-ups across Los Angeles

  • Chef Zack Lemann’s Lightly Fried Dragonflies

    Audubon Nature Institute

    “Cooking dragonflies usually involves some sweat equity on the front end. Swinging a net in classic insect nerd fashion in the heat of south Louisiana summers is typically the only way you can come by large numbers of these notoriously elusive bugs. But after having collected and frozen them, they can be made to taste very much like soft-shelled crab.

    I treat dragonflies like fish in that they are run through an egg bath and then dredged in seasoned fish fry. Prior to the cooking of these critters, take equal parts butter, soy sauce, and creole or country-style Dijon mustard (about a tablespoon of each), mix, and heat in a small skillet for a couple of minutes on a low setting. This can be set aside in a little bowl. Then you need just two burners: on one, vegetable oil is over a medium heat in a shallow pan. On the other, sliced portobello mushrooms sauté in a very small amount butter with just a sprinkle of garlic powder.

    When the oil is hot enough for frying, dragonflies go in for about thirty seconds, get flipped, and then cook for another thirty. This is perhaps a good time to note that these are delicate insects. In order to insure that they stay intact, I recommend repurposing an entomological tool known as featherweight tweezers and turning them into a culinary device: these wonderful forceps can be used to hold dragonflies by the wings both when prepping them for the pan (the egg and flour procedure) and when they are being turned in and removed from hot oil.

    The scientific name for the order of insects to which dragonflies belong is Odonata. When we make this word English, we call them odonates. And so, in seeking a clever, alliterative name for this truly scrumptious dish, I came up with Odonate Hors d’Oeuvre. I describe it as lightly fried dragonflies on sautéed portobello mushroom.”

    Zack Lemann is the Executive Bug Chef at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Chef Hugo Ortega’s Mescal Worm Tacos

    Debora Smail

    “My favorite way to enjoy insects like chapulines (grasshoppers), gusanos de maguey (mescal worms) and escamole (any eggs) is fresh, but in order to get these items from Mexico to the U.S. they must be dehydrated. They are very high in protein and, once rehydrated, you can use them in so many ways! Gusanos de maguey are more fatty, and they resemble the taste and texture of crisp bacon. I like to cook them with white onion, butter and olive oil and finish with fresh parsley and serrano peppers.”

    Hugo Ortega is executive chef and co-owner of Hugo’s, Backstreet Cafe and Caracol in Houston, Texas and a four-time James Beard Award finalist

  • Chef Hugo Ortega’s Tomatillo Grasshoppers

    Paula Murphy

    “Chapulines taste more earthy and grassy, and I prepare them similar to the gusanos and accompany with tomatillo sauce, guacamole and fresh tortillas for a nice snack or lunch. I also love them in tamales, quesadillas or tostadas and they are nice fried. I also like to prepare sal de chapuline—grasshopper salt—to salt the rim of a mezcalrita for a true taste of Oaxaca!”

    Hugo Ortega is executive chef and co-owner of Hugo’s, Backstreet Cafe and Caracol in Houston, TX, and a four-time James Beard Award finalist

  • Meghan Curry’s Critter Fritters

    Leandra Blei Photography

    “My very favorite edible insect recipe was a Spicy Critter Fritter made with ground crickets, aka cricket flour. Cricket flour bakes and cooks much like other nut flours with slightly great binding ability and a nice nutty aroma and flavor.”

    Meghan Curry is the founder of Bug Vivant, a culinary website devoted to edible insects

  • Chef Cesar Moreno’s Grasshopper Almond Flour Cake

    The Black Ant

    “New on the dessert menu for spring is the Piña Loca Cake: Grasshopper almond flour cake, roasted pineapple squares and coco loco ice cream leche quemada sauce. I like to use insects when baking because they add a nuttiness to the flour. They are also great to use as a salt or garnish. They can be covered with chocolate. And best of all they are a lean protein and very healthy.”

    Cesar Moreno is the Pastry Chef at The Black Ant in New York City

  • Chef Will Wienckowski’s Roasted Cicadas

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    “I had an opportunity to cook 17-year cicadas two summers ago. They were great dry roasted with a little salt. The roasted cicadas also worked very well in a sausage made with monkfish. I think roasted insects can be good in anything that could use a little variety in texture.”

    Will Wienckowski is the head chef at Ipanema Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant in Richmond, VA

  • Marcel Dicke’s Dragonfly Larvae

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    Getty Images

    “My best recipe for a wonderful insect dish: take fresh dragonfly larvae, wash them; take fresh peppermint leaves and deep-fry the dragonfly larvae with the peppermint leaves briefly. Serve with white rice. Delicious. (The only problem is the availability of the dragonfly larvae—I have seen them for sale in Dali, China, a city on a lake.)”

    Marcel Dicke is an ecological entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and co-author of The Insect Cookbook—Food for a Sustainable Planet

  • Chef Richard Sandoval’s Grasshopper Guac

    © MOSHE ZUSMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO, LLC
    © MOSHE ZUSMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUD—© MOSHE ZUSMAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO, LLC

    “Here’s a traditional preparation from southern Mexico that includes dried grasshoppers: Ripe avocados are mixed table-side with fresh green tomatillos, cotija cheese, onions, cilantro, lime, sea salt, and a dash of red chile cascabel powder. The combo offers fresh flavors and textures, not the least of which is the crunchy, nutty taste of the grasshoppers.

    Grasshoppers, or chapulines as they’re called in Spanish, have been part of the Mexican diet since the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. In some parts of Mexico, like Oaxaca where they are a staple, you see chapulines in everything—guacamole, tacos, quesadillas and queso fundido. Before your write off grasshopper guacamole here in Denver, know that grasshoppers are not only very popular in Mexico but they are a traditional food being revived by foodies.”

    Richard Sandoval is a chef, restaurateur, author and television personality

  • Chef Julian Medina’s Grasshopper Tacos

    toloache tacos chapulines
    Toloache

    “When I was organizing Toloache’s menu, I knew we had to have Tacos de Chapulines on the menu. Grasshoppers are a delicacy so deeply rooted in Mexican culture, and I really wanted to share them with New York. To create the taco I saute dried grasshoppers with jalapenos, then complement them in the tortilla with tomatillo salsa and guacamole.”

    Julian Medina is owner and chef of Toloache in New York City

  • Megan Miller’s Cricket Cobbler

    Bitty Foods

    “Asking for one favorite way to prepare any insect is kind of like asking for a single way to prepare any bird—you could of course roast them, fry them or boil them, but the resulting texture and flavor will vary according to the species and what it was fed. At Bitty Foods, we make snacks and baked goods using crickets that have been fed an organic diet and then dried and milled into a fine powder. For foolproof results, I’d suggest starting with our Bitty baking flour and substituting it cup-for-cup for wheat flour in your favorite cookie or cake, or even cobbler recipe.”

    Megan Miller is the founder of Bitty Foods, a cricket flour company

  • Daniella Martin’s Mealworm Slaw

    mealworm slaw
    Daniella Martin

    “My favorite way to prepare insects is to toast them in the oven until crispy. Then they can be salted and eaten plain, added to salads, or ground up into flour for use in baked goods or smoothies.”

    Daniella Martin is author of Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet and host of Girl Meets Bug

  • Chef Monica Martinez’s Mealworm Pecan Pie

    mealworms
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    “Oven toasted, and there’s no need to use any oils as most insects are very fatty—good fatty! They don’t contain cholesterol or saturated fats. Mealworms make a great dessert item as they have a very nutty flavor, they could replace pecans for a pecan pie.”

    Monica Martinez is the creator of Don Bugito, a food cart of edible insects in San Francisco

  • Chef Curtis Stone’s Night Crawlers

    earthworm
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    “I tasted a whole variety of bugs and insects in one sitting on the set of Top Chef Masters (season 3). We had guests from the Discovery Channel show Man, Woman, Wild who helped us find our chefs everything from night crawlers, beetles and bugs—the contestants cooked them and I ate the lot! No matter how good a chef you are, it’s pretty challenging to cook with these ‘ingredients.’ There were some really good attempts and some that just didn’t work unfortunately. I actually still have a memory of biting into a worm omelet and feeling the grit in the worm. All in a day’s work I guess!”

    Curtis Stone is an Australian chef, television personality, author and chef/owner of Maude restaurant in Beverly Hills

  • Paul Landkamer’s Marinated Stink Bugs

    marinated stink bugs
    Paul Landkamer

    “Boil for about 5 minutes, then simmer the boiled insects in a Cajun sauce before dehydrating. Marinate about 24 hrs in a favorite sauce, then dehydrate to a crispy crunch.”

    Paul Landkamer is an edible insect enthusiast

MONEY sustainability

10 Super Easy Practices That Are Good for the Earth—and Your Budget

In honor of Earth Day, here are 10 incredibly easy things we should all be doing: They're good for the environment and save money at the same time.

Taking major steps like installing rooftop solar panels or buying an electric car are hardly the only ways to go green. It’s very possible to practice an earth-friendly lifestyle without incurring a major cost outlay. In fact, tons of tiny, easy tweaks to what you do and what you buy day in, day out can not only help the environment, they’ll save you money as a bonus. Here are 10 green cost-saving practices for Earth Day—and every day.

  • Walk or Bike

    Capital Bikeshare, Washington, D.C.
    James A. Parcell—The Washington Post via Getty Images Capital Bikeshare, Washington, D.C.

    Cities and even many small towns are increasingly focused on becoming more walkable and bike-friendly. So why not take advantage? Obviously, neither of these modes of transportation requires the use of fossil fuels or electricity. They’re also free or nearly so. Depending on where you live, you might not even have to buy a bike: The bike share program in Washington, D.C., for instance, costs $75 per year and rides are free if they last 30 minutes or less. (Check out MONEY’s ranking of the Best Places to Walk or Bike.)

  • Group Errands Together

    150420_EM_EarthDay_GroupErrands
    Getty Images—Getty Images

    You could take separate car trips to go grocery shopping, get the oil changed in the car, and visit the doctor for an annual checkup. Or you could combine them into one outing, in a process some call “trip chaining,” which is as simple—or challenging, for some—as being a little more organized and efficient. By planning ahead and grouping errands, you save time and gas money and reduce congestion on the roads.

  • Use Public Transportation

    150420_EM_EarthDay_MassTransit
    Craig Warga—Bloomberg via Getty Images New York subway

    Some parts of the country have better public transit than others, and surveys indicate that people—millennials especially—place a high priority on living in cities with good options for getting around. This makes sense for a number of reasons. According to a study on commuter satisfaction, people who get to work on foot, bike, or via train are happiest. These options are not only more affordable compared with driving, the time of one’s commute is more consistent and therefore less stressful. Check out the tools at PublicTransportation.org to scope out transit options and see how much money and carbon emissions you could save by using public transportation in your neck of the woods.

  • Drink Tap Water

    150420_EM_EarthDay_WaterBottle2
    Alamy

    Americans spent roughly $13 billion on bottled water last year, up 6% from 2013. We’re drinking roughly 34 gallons of bottled water annually per capita, up from just 1.6 gallons in 1976. Granted, this is a much healthier option than sugary beverages, but is bottled water any better for us than tap water? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, tap water is completely safe; many bottled waters are just tap water that’s sometimes (but not always) filtered. And bottled water easily costs 100 times or perhaps even 1,000 times more than tap water. Only an estimated 23% of disposable plastic water bottles are recycled, by the way.

  • Shop with Reusable Bags

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    The environmental benefits of shopping with a reusable bag like these recommended by Real Simple are pretty obvious: They eliminate the need for plastic bags that tend to wind up in landfills. Shopping with a reusable bag may also save you money, because stores in places like Dallas and Encinitas, Calif., charge customers 5¢ or 10¢ apiece for non-reusable bags.

  • Don’t Overdo It on Groceries

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    Somewhere between 25% and 40% of the food we buy in the U.S. is thrown away. What this shows is that too many of us buy too much at supermarkets and warehouse bulk-supply retailers, and/or that we’re not particularly good at strategically freezing or concocting leftover dishes. To waste less, shop smarter and be creative with foods that might otherwise be dumped in the trash. And to avoid going overboard with impulse purchases at the grocery store, always make a shopping list in advance, and stick to it.

  • Heat and Cool Your Home Wisely

    Insulation
    Jonathan Maddock—Getty Images

    Among the many straightforward and fairly simple steps you can take to trim back household costs and conserve resources: Turn the heat down in winter (you’ll shave 1% off your heating bill for every 1 degree lower); use fans rather than nonstop A/C in the summer; insulate around doors and windows to protect from drafts; and put heating and cooling systems on a timer so that they’re only in use when needed.

  • Use Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs, Appliances

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    Alamy

    They tend to cost more upfront than less efficient models. But they’ll save you money in the long run because they eat up less electricity when being used, and, at least in terms of lightbulbs, they have longer lifespans so therefore have to be replaced less frequently. As for appliances, look for the Energy Star label as a sign of a product’s efficiency—and its potential to shave dollars off your utility bills.

  • Be Practical About Landscaping

    cactuses outside home
    Trinette Reed—Getty Images

    It’s not wise to battle against Mother Nature by trying to force flowers, plants, and grasses to grow in areas where they’re simply not suited. A low-cost, low-maintenance yard is one that incorporates native plants and greenery that flourish in your zone, without requiring extensive watering, fertilizer, and attention—nor a big budget. Check out classic tips from This Old House and Better Homes & Gardens for landscaping that’s gorgeous, affordable, and earth-friendly. Don’t fixate on having a prototypical grassy front lawn, which may look good but often requires loads of time, energy, money, water, and chemicals to maintain.

  • Compost

    Dumping compost
    Jill Ferry Photography—Getty Images

    Many towns give residents free or deeply subsidized composters, and using one is generally as simple as dumping vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, fallen leaves, grass clippings, and such into the bin. The resulting material can be help your garden and new plants grow, and eliminate much of the need to water and buy fertilizers and pesticides. Composting reduces the amount of waste in landfills as well, of course. (Even apartment dwellers can get in on the act with vermicomposting, or composting with worms.)

TIME apps

This Is the App You Need to Download for Earth Day

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It lets you keep a log of your daily energy consumption and tells you how to reduce it

Has commemorating Earth Day on April 22 got you in the mood to save some energy? There’s an app for that.

My Earth — Track Your Carbon Savings uses a simple diary format to help make you aware of the energy you’re using during your daily routine.

The app tracks your energy consumption in areas like electricity, travel and food, and within each category, there are suggestions for doing things differently to help conserve energy. Some of the suggestions are simple (like recycling) and some are complex (like installing a high-efficiency water closet). As you take up the suggestions, you accumulate carbon units and can quickly see how much energy you are saving.

A cute visual device — a polar bear perched on an iceberg — depicts your progress. The more energy you save, the bigger the iceberg gets.

Nancy Wong, the app’s designer and professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said on the institution’s website that in many people what looked like a lack of concern for the environment was really “a failure to connect individual action to that bigger picture.”

She explained that “Hopefully the app could help you understand actually whatever you do is not insignificant, and this is how you can contribute.”

TIME Vatican

Vatican to Host Summit on Climate Change

Pope Francis leads general audience in Vatican City
Baris Seckin—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Pope Francis arrives at St. Peter's square on April 15, 2014 to lead his weekly general audience in Vatican City, Vatican on April 15, 2015.

The move is part of Pope Francis's environmental strategy

The Vatican will host a summit on climate change and sustainability efforts later this month, officials announced on Tuesday.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will give the opening address of the “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity” event, and faith and science leaders will give speeches and participate in panels. The goal of the summit is to highlight “the intrinsic connection between respect for the environment and respect for people—especially the poor, the excluded, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, children, and future generations,” according to the Vatican’s website.

The summit is part of a larger effort by Pope Francis to bring the Catholic Church into the conversation about sustainability and the environment. The Holy See will write a papal letter to bishops this summer about the Vatican’s position on climate change—a fitting mission for a Pope whose namesake, Francis of Assisi, is the patron saint of the environment.

MONEY Food & Drink

The Hip New Foodie Trend Could Be Eating Garbage

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Rosemary Calvert—Getty Images

What's to be learned from a swanky New York City restaurant's ambitious experiment featuring foods pretty much everybody considers garbage?

For the second half of March, Manhattan’s Blue Hill restaurant—renowned chef Dan Barber’s swanky farm-to-table experience described as “flawless” and a “top destination” in Zagat—was closed to make space for a pop-up experiment called wastED. The “waste” sums up what was on the menu, which consisted entirely of things that are usually considered inedible rubbish, including salad scraps, pasta trimmings, off-grade sweet potatoes, “yesterday’s oatmeal,” and seemingly unpalatable parts of meat and fish like skate-wing cartilage. Naturally, the latter was paired with fish-head tartar sauce. A dish dubbed “dog food,” which indeed looked just like dog food, was actually meatloaf made with offal (animal organs) and beef from a cow bred for milking.

A plate of food cost a flat $15. That could seem like a bargain considering people were eating in a chic, experimental, brag-worthy West Village restaurant. Then again, the price could be viewed as a total rip-off in light of the fact that diners were basically eating garbage.

As the pop-up restaurant’s name indicates, the emphasis was on ED, as in education. The point was to call attention to food waste. It’s been estimated that somewhere between 25% and 40% of perfectly edible food winds up in the trash, and the goal of Barber and his team of guest chefs was “creating something delicious out of the ignored or un-coveted.”

This isn’t a new concept for Barber, who a year ago wrote in TIME about the need for restaurants and society at large to “cook with the whole farm” rather than just the prime cuts, so to speak. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have also pointed out that food waste is ripe for profit, what with the potential to turn cheap or free discarded materials into products that can be sold.

For the most part, the reviews were positive—if not concerning the food, then at least the idea. The New Yorker declared the bony monkfish meat to be “juicier than even the best fried chicken,” and that overall, “Ordering horrible-sounding things that turned out to be delicious was a bizarre but exhilarating adventure.” Architectural Digest noted that the décor consisted of repurposed and discarded materials, resulting in the overall effect of “having dinner in an extremely chic construction site, albeit one with perfect mood lighting that’s enhanced by beef tallow candles.” A Fast Company writer had fun ordering “dishes that sounded like blue plate specials for Oscar the Grouch,” though ultimately admitted she wouldn’t actively seek out anything that was on the menu.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a Manhattan restaurant where so many people appeared so enthralled, so thrilled,” wrote GQ‘s Alan Richman. Even so, Richman expressed concern that wastED reminded him of the “inhumane fashion trend of a decade ago called ‘homeless chic,’ whereby designers created pricy fashions for wealthy people that resembled what bag ladies wore on the street.”

There’s something insulting about the idea of privileged people pretending to be dumpster-diving paupers for an evening. There’s also something hypocritical about rich foodies who wouldn’t dream of taking doggie bags home from a restaurant but who would brag about eating “dog food” when it’s created by a celebrity chef.

The New Republic also critiqued one aspect of the wastED experiment, which when you think about it demonstrates how pathetic most of us are at cooking:

The message a restaurant like this sends is that the world’s great chefs can do more with vegetable scraps than home cooks can with prime cuts of meat and high-quality produce.

For home cooks hoping to eliminate waste, it’s wise to take the baby-steps approach rather than ambitiously attempting to make fermented scallion tops or pig’s ears edible. Try to buy only what you’re going to use, be smart about storing and freezing foods that would otherwise be thrown away, and get creative when it comes to leftovers.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 11

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Special collaborative courts focus on rehabilitating troubled veterans. They’re working.

By Spencer Michels at PBS Newshour

2. PayPal runs a dead-simple microlending program that helps small businesses grow.

By Michelle Goodman in Entrepreneur

3. To make voters care, a radio station in L.A. picked a prototype non-voter and built their election coverage around him.

By Melody Kramer at Poynter.org

4. Can the mining industry become a responsible, reliable partner for local communities and the environment?

By Andrea Mustain in Kellogg Insight

5. Robert Mugabe is 91 years old. The world should prepare for a succession crisis in Zimbabwe.

By Helia Ighani at the Council on Foreign Relations

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 10

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. How do we convince Americans that justice isn’t for sale — when in 39 states, it is?

By Sue Bell Cobb in Politico

2. It took pressure from customers and investors to make corporations environmentally sustainable. It’s time to do the same for gender equity.

By Marissa Wesely in Stanford Social Innovation Review

3. London’s congestion pricing plan is saving lives.

By Alex Davies in Wired

4. Libraries should be the next great start-up incubators.

By Emily Badger in CityLab

5. Annual replanting has a devastating impact. Could perennial rice be the solution?

By Winifred Bird in Yale Environment 360

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 22

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Want to improve your bottom line? Diversify your workplace.

By Joann S. Lublin in the Wall Street Journal

2. Journalism shouldn’t be a transaction for communities. A local news lab can make it transformational.

By Josh Stearns in Medium

3. The spike of hysteria about artificial intelligence could threaten valuable research.

By Erik Sofge in Popular Science

4. A new vision for securing work and protecting jobs can ensure stability in the face of rising automation.

By Guy Ryder at the World Economic Forum

5. Purchasing carbon offsets is easy. With carbon ‘insetting,’ a business folds sustainable decisions into the supply chain.

By Tim Smedley in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Science

You Won’t Believe the Source of the World’s Most Sustainable Salmon

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Rogan Macdonald—Getty Images Farmed salmon

Josh Schonwald is a Chicago-based journalist and author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food.

Hint: it's not the open sea or a Norwegian fjord

When you hear the term “sustainable seafood,” you might envision a fisherman pulling catch from a pristine sea.

But a few weeks ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, arguably the world’s most influential arbiter of seafood sustainability, gave its highest stamp of approval to three companies that are about as far away from that fishing idyll as possible.

The Atlantic salmon deemed “Best Choice” by Seafood Watch were neither caught, nor from the sea. They spent their lives indoors in warehouses as far inland as Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

In the past, Seafood Watch has almost always advised consumers to avoid farmed salmon. But three indoor farms around the world have succeeded in eliminating the usual concerns about fish farming.

At these farms, there’s no risk of escapees mating with wild populations. There’s no risk of fish waste messing up the marine environment. There’s a vastly reduced risk of disease. Each of these farms recycles more than 95% of its water, and they use a smaller number of feed fish to grow their salmon than traditional farms.

There are other reasons to love these warehouse or “tank” farms. One of the farms, called Langsand Laks and located in Denmark, uses wind and geothermal energy for its electrical needs. The West Virginia farm, run by the Freshwater Institute, is using nutrient-laden fish waste to develop an aquaponic farm. And the British Columbia farm called KUTERRA, is touted as a an important job creator for Vancouver Island’s ‘Namgis tribe.

Seafood Watch’s stamp of approval may be the biggest yet for indoor, land-based aquaculture, but it’s not the first. During the past few years, a growing number of supporters—from environmental groups, often hostile to aquaculture, to sustainability-minded chefs to marine biologists—have been talking up the virtues of indoor aquaculture.

Critics say the indoor farms are little more than lab experiments until they prove their economic viability, and they point to several flops—most famously, Local Ocean. The New York fish farm graced the cover of TIME in 2011 under the headline “The Future of Fish,” and boasted of “zero discharge,” yet shuttered abruptly last year after spending its entire four-year existence in the red, according to Seafood Source. Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest, the world’s largest salmon farmer, reportedly told a Norwegian paper that farming salmon on land was as foolish as raising pigs at sea and that fish should be raised in their natural habitat.

There are certainly good reasons for farming salmon in the ocean. Indoor fish farmers have to take care of so many things that nature provides: water temperature, oxygen content, pH levels, not to mention a physical environment. Even the most evangelical indoor fish farmers concede that their way is more technologically challenging and more costly than ocean farming. A 2013 study by the Freshwater Institute and Norwegian research organization SINTEF found that an indoor salmon farm was more than three times as expensive to operate as a traditional ocean pen salmon farm.

Still, despite higher costs, flops, and an industry poised to go negative on newfangled ideas, no one should count out indoor fish farming.

There have been numerous new projects announced during the last two years—from salmon farming in China’s Gobi desert to a plan to build the world’s largest indoor salmon farm in Scotland—which happens to be one of world’s major ocean salmon farms. There are now nine land-based fish farms working that produce more than 7,000 metric tons of salmon annually, according to Steve Summerfelt, who directs the Freshwater Institute’s aquaculture program. There are also dozens of smaller-scale projects cropping up, like this one in a Hong Kong high-rise and this one on a Wisconsin dairy farm.

There are some compelling pluses to indoor fish farming, even if your chief concern is profit. Fish grow faster indoors, proponents say, and fewer die. There is less need, if any, for vaccinations and antibiotics, and you can reduce feed costs. There are also collateral benefits, such as using fish waste compost to grow vegetables or generate electricity. “I’m not a tree-hugger,” Bill Martin, president of indoor fish farm Blue Ridge Aquaculture in Virginia told me. “I’m a capitalist. I’m an environmentalist because it’s good business.”

With a slew of failures to learn from, fish farmers are starting to figure out the technology and how to make money indoors.

The two big indoor fish farms that have thrived for 10-plus years, Martin’s Blue Ridge and barramundi-farming Australis, aren’t selling their haul to your Safeway. They’re selling to the “live market”—consumers who want higher quality, fresher, live fish and will pay for it. Likewise, Seafood Watch-approved salmon farms are targeting sustainability-minded foodies who are happy to pay more for a fish that is clean and green.

There’s also another argument you’ll increasingly hear from the “go indoor” crowd. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

Journalist Paul Greenberg, perhaps the closest thing to a Michael Pollan of seafood, often points out a staggering statistic: nearly 90% of American seafood is imported. In his newest book American Catch, Greenberg argues that environmentally concerned consumers should seek out sustainable American sources of wild caught seafood. He also highlights the potential of land-based, closed-containment farms, such as the Massachusetts-based Australis to provide Americans with a source of sustainable and locally sourced seafood.

The idea of Atlantic salmon harvested in a West Virginia warehouse might not strike one as appealing as salmon that hails from a Norwegian fjord. But when you start considering the state of world fisheries, the soaring seafood consumption, the ridiculousness of the global seafood chain (fish caught in Alaska, processed in China, sold in Miami), well, then that antibiotic-free, zero-discharge West Virginia warehouse-raised salmon is pretty damn appealing.

Josh Schonwald is a Chicago-based journalist and author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food, but he is perhaps best-known as the guy who ate the Frankenburger.Schonwald writes and speaks frequently about the future of food and agriculture. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Macalester College and Columbia University’s journalism school, Schonwald lives in Evanston, Illinois with his wife, children, and indoor aquaponic system.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME deals

Tesla Is Going to Build Its Huge Battery Factory in Nevada

6,500 jobs to be created in Reno

Tesla Motors has picked Nevada as the location of the electric-car company’s $5 billion battery plant, dubbed the Gigafactory.

The deal is expected to bring 6,500 much needed jobs to the state’s Reno area, reports USA Today.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the audience at the official announcement Thursday that the plant would “enable the mass production of compelling electric vehicles for decades to come.”

But before the deal can be finalized, USA Today reports, Nevada will have to cough up a huge incentive package estimated to be worth $1.5 billion over 20 years.

Tesla aims to be pumping out lithium-ion battery cells on a huge scale from the plant by 2020, which will ultimately bring down their cost.

“I am grateful that Elon Musk and Tesla saw the promise in Nevada,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “These 21st century pioneers, fueled with innovation and desire, are emboldened by the promise of Nevada to change the world.”

With an eye to sustainability, the plant will produce its own energy and adopt labor-saving construction techniques.

The deal will now go to the state’s legislature for approval and is due to be called in a special session next week.

[USA Today]

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