Western cultures often frown on the practice of eating insects of any sort. But for reasons ranging from health and wellness to eco-friendliness, foodies the world over have tried punching up everyday dishes with creepy-crawly ingredients. Hey, at least they’re a good source of protein!
1. Insect Ice Cream
In 2011, the owners of Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri, decided to experiment with putting boiled cicadas in some of their frozen treats. The resulting product (above) was hugely popular, but ultimately discontinued when the state government “advised against the use of cicadas in the ice cream because the department did not have information regarding cooking temperatures for cicadas.”
2. Bug Nuggets
Don’t count on seeing these at McDonald’s anytime soon: replacing chicken meat with ground-up mealworms (as done by a Dutch company called “Bugs Originals”) might be a pretty tough sell, even by fast-food standards.
3. Mealworm French Fries
“Two Dozen Mealworms—boiled but not roasted” are called for in this recipe. (For those who might be curious, “mealworms” are a type of segmented beetle larvae commonly used to feed captive reptiles and amphibians.)
4. Chocolate-Covered Ants
5. Bug Burgers
It might sound gross to some, but Dr. Morgan Gaye—a self-described “food futurologist”—predicts that insect burgers (usually made with mealworms) might just replace their bovine predecessors within the next decade.
6. Cicada Pizza
“Pretty much everything you could use shrimp on, you could use cicadas on” says New York chef Caroline Fincke. One of her best-known creations was a savory pizza that included fried, garlic-laced cicadas alongside more typical toppings like wild leeks and ricotta cheese.