|Roasted crickets -- served on the side, so that guests could add just the right amount of crunch to their salads.|
The idea for whipping up a dinner with bugs as the featured ingredient came from my friend, former student, and almost birthday-twin, Michelle. A strong bucket-lister in her own right, Michelle and I have together taken on various hiking goals in our beloved Green Mountains here in Vermont, service learning in Tanzania, and combating the AIDS epidemic, among other activities. Michelle’s one of the most imaginative generators of New Thing ideas I know, and we’d been talking about this one for a while. This year, we took the plunge and scheduled the meal on the day between our birthdays (Michelle was born on December 8 and I on December 10).
|Michelle, hard at work on our Cricket Chili.|
The greatest challenge, we found, came in sourcing the bugs. Although theoretically there are a number of types of bugs available — including mealworms and silkworm larvae — by far the most common is crickets, and ultimately that was the mail order option that was most manageable for us. We ordered a pound of cricket meal and a pound of roasted crickets and crossed our fingers that they would arrive in time.
With the crucial bug ingredients ordered we started thinking about the menu, which had an additional twist — one of our guests can’t eat gluten. This turned out to be not as tough as we expected. We selected one dish he couldn’t eat — Cheddar-Cricket Biscuits, but the rest of the menu turned out just fine.
Ultimately, we settled for:
- Tossed green salad with roasted crickets
- Cheddar-cricket biscuits
- Cricket chili
- Cricket-topped gluten-free chocolate cupcakes
- And everyone’s favorite, Cricket-Chocolate Clusters
|Cheddar-cricket biscuits - with Cabot Very Sharp Cheddar (obviously).|
- They’re the perfect paleo food — nothing but protein.
- They’re gluten-free.
- Their water and carbon footprints are ridiculously small for a rich source of protein.
- They’re cruelty-free. They live a natural life until the day when they are put in a cold place and go into.a form of hibernation (torpor), then are frozen while they sleep.
- Cricket powder is actually pretty versatile (though it’s kind of gritty and gray — food stylists will need to work on that one), and roasted crickets are pretty much all crunch.