Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"They Actually Eat That:" Cicadas.

Yes, we know this post is way out of time. Cicadas are summer animals. They're the bugs that make summer noisy as all get-out. Maybe writing about them will make Chicago seems warmer (...but we've had worse). This is one of the years of the 13-year cicada, which means we best be armed with a million delicious recipes in which to cook them.

For those of you in areas that lack periodical cicadas (Magicicada), picture this: One summer, you see a large, red-eyed bug resembling a large fly or a particularly airworthy cricket. And then another. And another. And another. They land on you like something out of a horror flick. When periodical cicadas come out, they come out all at once, scaring housewives worse than the infamous mouse.

This mass emergence is one of the most welcome sights in the natural world. Cicadas are towards the bottom of the food web. They live to court, mate, and die soon after. Birds and other animals have learned that this bloom means food - lots of food- and can be seen sniping cicadas like crazy. We are newcomers to the smorgasbord.

Just like every other non-poisonous insect out there, humans have founda million ways to eat cicadas. This includes frying them, sautee-ing them, and dipping them in chocolate. Some bold people in California even put them in ice cream because it was not illegal yet. (Keyword: Yet. As per this article, "it's not really regulated.") Cicadas can be used as a high-protein additive in pretty much anything. Even chocolate chip cookies are fair game.

Eating these guys is anything but new. Everybody, everywhere, ever has eaten cicadas. They are considered a delicacy in East Asia. Artistotle, AKA one of the smartest guys in recorded history, advocated eating cicadas. The problem is that America is paranoid about eating bugs. After hearing the sheer amount of noise they make, believe us: it will be very hard to resist the urge to eat them as a form of culinary revenge. 

1 comment:

  1. I've just written a story about cicadas in my blog:

    Best wishes, Eric Shackle, in Sydney, Australia.