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Forget Pepperoni. Top Your Pizza with Cicadas!

Forget Pepperoni. Top Your Pizza with Cicadas!

A book recently crossed my desk titled, The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook by David George Gordon. Judging from the title, you could probably guess what the featured ingredient is in most of these recipes. Taking a page from the recent UN report that stated eating insects is a way of improving global security (cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable), this book advocates for chowing down on everything from garden grazers to insect larva. Needless to say, this cookbook by Gordon will not likely outsell the current Martha Stewart tome or whatever Paleo diet book is big now, but it will likely create some conversation, and may even get some adventurous souls to eat an insect or two, or more.

Here on the east coast, where it seems insects are more than plentiful, they are about to reach critical mass with the awakening of brood II cicadas, which are slowly emerging from a 17-year slumber. And like teens on spring break, they are set to get wild and very, very loud. Cicadas have been feasting on tree roots underground for nearly two decades, which make them a high-protein, gluten-free, low-fat and low-carb treat, if you are willing to go there. Gordon offers just one recipe in his book for cicadas, which takes the form of a pizza, or as he calls it, a “Piz-zz-zz-za.” In his recipe, he adds cicada to a regular pizza crust, along with artichokes, red pepper flakes and mozzarella cheese.

While I am still undecided as to whether or not I really want to harvest a bucketful of these red-eyed arthropods (they are often called “shrimp of the land” by cicada-eating enthusiasts), I don’t think I would personally choose them as a pizza topping. I would be more inclined to clean them, remove legs and wings, and then roast them. I would imagine they taste like popcorn (those that are experienced say they taste like nutty asparagus).

Would you, could you eat a cicada? Does the thought of it just ruin your appetite? Is it preferable to eating some industrially farmed animal that was treated and slaughtered under questionable conditions? If not cicadas, what insect would you be happy to chow down?

Related:
Banana Worm Bread (And Other Insect Recipes)
Would You Eat Bugs?

Read more: All recipes, Appetizers & Snacks, Blogs, Diet & Nutrition, Environment, Following Food, Food, Green, Household Hints, Natural Pest Control, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

118 comments

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4:35PM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Thanks for sharing this, I would probably try them if someone offered them to me (don't knock anything unless you've tried it), but unlikely I would seek them out.

6:55AM PDT on Jul 30, 2013

If it were a case of needs (desperately) must then I'd consider it (if I was desperate I'd very possibly be extremely grateful for it). Have eaten some unusual combinations of foods during challenging times.

4:13AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

thanks for sharing

11:04AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

Very provocative article. In Japan children use to care fore cicadas as pets. I don't think this is the case anymore. But, when other pets are not an option, I think a ciacda might be fun. I suppose if necessary I could eat them, but I would rather not. The 17 year cicada invasion has not really come to fruition.

11:08AM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

We are very spoiled (and close minded) here in developed countries. Millions of people across the planet eat insects, and have done so for millennia.They are a cheap and abundant source of protein. Although to be honest the only way I'd ever eat one would be if I were starving.

4:48AM PDT on Jul 1, 2013

Yuck ! Not for me, thank you !

11:51AM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

No way!

3:35AM PDT on Jun 24, 2013

No thanks!! we have them here in costa rica but never eat them !?!just look at them!!!and listen too!!

10:47PM PDT on Jun 20, 2013

No thanks..I'll stick to just cheese and veggies on mine..

10:51PM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

Not ready for Bug Pizza.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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