This Time I Ate the Bugs on Purpose

I’m not going to lie. I’ve eaten several ants in my life. One of the highest ant-to-food ratios happened on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua where Mike and I stopped into a little beach-side cafe and ordered a bowl of vegetarian lentil soup. There were nearly as many tiny ants floating around in that bowl as there were lentils. Mike tried to pick the out. I didn’t bother. They were really hard to grab and I knew I wasn’t going to get them all, so down the hatch they went.

I had forgotten about this completely.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, a friend and I went to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium — a.k.a the Bug Museum — here in New Orleans. There are some really beautiful beetle displays.

There is so much art in these beautiful little beasts
There is so much art in these beautiful little beasts
These guys? Their wingspan is the size of my hand.
These guys? Their wingspan is the size of my hand.

And the insects had all decorated for the holidays, apparently.

What do you get a beetle for Christmas?
What do you get a bug for Christmas?

It wasn’t until we were in the cafe and my friend decided to man up and eat a fruit fly cake that I remembered just how many bugs I’ve knowingly eaten.

fruit fly cake. mmmm?
fruit fly cake. mmmm?

In fact, we’ve all eaten plenty of bugs without knowing it. Yes, you too. You know meal worms? The wriggly things people buy as bait? You know why they’re called meal worms? Because they get into the meal we use to make food. They get in, eat, hang out, play Xbox, listen to Jim Croce or whatever else meal worms do, and make more meal worms. And then we go on to process that meal into cereals and cakes and all sorts of stuff. For example, your canned sweet corn is only considered to be contaminated after the aggregate length of insects or insect parts (larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments) exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds.

We’re already eating bugs. All. The. Time.  So what’s the harm in eating a few more wax worms and crickets?  After all, they come in these delightful flavors:

bugmuseum02

So I went with the Cinnamon Bug Crunch.

They're crispy. They're cinnamony.
They’re crispy. They’re cinnamony.
They're delicious?
They’re delicious? Of course they are. You can tell by my “delicious” face.

And there you have it. I’m eating bugs. On purpose.

Q: Would any of you eat bugs on purpose? Have you already? Do tell!

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