Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms

According to a 2001 article in Science World, “Nearly 80 percent of the world's population relies on bugs for food.” Several television personalities have illustrated this statistic by traveling to exotic places like Asia and South America and sampling their creepy crawly cuisine for educational and shock value. I have cowered in horror and delight on my sofa as these well-paid brave souls devoured antennae and all in the name of cultural enlightenment and entertainment.

To be honest, my curiosity began to grow. During a recent visit to ¡explora! I purchased a couple small boxes of dried crickets and larvae from the gift shop. I took them to my parent’s house in Missouri and challenged my family and self to dig in.

Nearly everybody partook, some with enthusiasm (me and the kids) and some with a little more hesitation (my mother and sister).

The crickets were dusted with sour cream and onion seasoning that turned out to be the grossest part of those little hoppers while the larvae were enhanced with chile powder. Both were crunchy and toasty tasting. Both were pretty damn good. They actually would make a nice snack, like popcorn.

Next time I get a chance to eat bugs I’d like to try something a little fresher. I feel like I missed out on a crucial part of the experience by side-stepping the gooey center likely to be found in insects that haven’t been dehydrated first.

Now before you decide that eating insects is something you’d never do, consider this: Entomophagy (eating bugs) is unintentionally practiced by everyone. It is impossible to eliminate all traces of insect activity from consumables. The FDA has guidelines on the amount of insect parts and waste called defects that are typically found in food. For example, chocolate can have an average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams and pasta contains an average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams. Bon appétit!