Belgian Waf-flies: Researchers in Belgium Have Developed ‘Insect Butter’

Insect butter could bake the world by swarm.
Insect butter could bake the world by swarm.
The Straits Times, YouTube

The latest dairy butter substitute involves blending heaps of once-wriggling insect larvae into what Reuters describes as a “smooth greyish dollop.”

Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium have created “insect butter” by soaking black soldier fly larvae in water, mixing them together, and then separating out a greasy, butter-like substance using a centrifuge. That substance isn’t quite tasty enough to spread right on your toast, but it’s apparently a suitable stand-in for butter in baking recipes—as long as you don’t overdo it.

According to Reuters, the researchers replaced one-fourth of the regular butter with insect butter for some cakes, split the amount straight down the middle for others, and then had consumers try both versions. Though they didn’t specify how many people participated in the experiment, they reported that overall, the taste-testers thought the first cake tasted normal. The half-and-half cake, on the other hand, had an unusual flavor, and consumers concluded they wouldn’t want to buy it.

Despite the funky flavor, insect butter could turn out to be the best option for baked goods in the future—if scientists can figure out how to make the taste more appealing (and public relations specialists can reduce people’s general aversion to eating bugs). Not only are insects a good source of protein, healthy fats, and minerals, they’re also much more environmentally friendly than livestock.

“They are more sustainable because they use less land. They are more efficient at converting feed to weight,” Daylan Tzompa-Sose, the University of Ghent food technologist who led the project, explains in the video above. “They also use less water to produce.”

Bug butter cakes wouldn’t be the first innovative insect food to hit the market—find out about cicada ice cream, mealworm burgers, and more here.

[h/t Reuters]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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Why Do We Say ‘Spill the Beans’?

This is a Greek tragedy.
This is a Greek tragedy.
anthony_taylor/iStock via Getty Images

Though superfans of The Office may claim otherwise, the phrase spill the beans did not originate when Kevin Malone dropped a massive bucket of chili at work during episode 26 of season five. In fact, people supposedly started talking about spilling the beans more than 2000 years ago.

According to Bloomsbury International, one voting method in ancient Greece involved (uncooked) beans. If you were voting yes on a certain matter, you’d place a white bean in the jar; if you were voting no, you’d use your black bean. The jar wasn’t transparent, and since the votes were meant to be kept secret until the final tally, someone who accidentally knocked it over mid-vote was literally spilling the beans—and figuratively spilling the beans about the results.

While we don’t know for sure that the phrase spill the beans really does date all the way back to ancient times, we do know that people have used the word spill to mean “divulge” at least since the 16th century. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest known reference of it is from a letter written by Spanish chronicler Antonio de Guevara sometime before his death in 1545 (the word spill appears in Edward Hellowes’s 1577 translation of the letter).

Writers started to pair spill with beans during the 20th century. The first known mention is from Thomas K. Holmes’s 1919 novel The Man From Tall Timber: “‘Mother certainly has spilled the beans!’ thought Stafford in vast amusement.”

In short, it’s still a mystery why people decided that beans were an ideal food to describe spilling secrets. As for whether you’re imagining hard, raw beans like the Greeks used or the tender, seasoned beans from Kevin Malone’s ill-fated chili, we’ll leave that up to you.

[h/t Bloomsbury International]