Insects as Food

insectsMost westerners (like Americans) won’t eat insects unless they don’t know they’re eating insects. In far eastern societies, however, entomophagy (eating insects) is common among humans. I’ve watched enough videos on various platforms to know this is true. It’s big business in places like Thailand.

United States Marines, when undergoing jungle environment survival training at Subic Bay, had to learn to eat many of the insects they came across while training. That included cockroaches. I was told that some of them tasted like peanut butter and others tasted like greasy fried chicken. Regardless, I’m glad I didn’t have to do that while I was in the Marine Corps.

Now, just because they eat insects as food in a lot of places, it doesn’t mean westerners should start doing it without some forethought. It can be hazardous to your heath. This Wikipedia page describes the potential dangers.

Insects as Novelty Food

Way back in the 1970s, when I was in one elementary school grade or another, various insect food products were part of an ongoing fad. The fad mostly died out after a couple of years. If you consider the fact that some of the products that claimed to contain insects didn’t contain any actual insects, there really weren’t than many real insect food products.

There were only two that I remember, chocolate-covered grasshoppers and chocolate-covered ants. The people who tasted the ants said it reminded them of “Kellogg’s Rice Krispies”. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t have the guts to try them. That fad returned (but probably no longer a fad), this time with real insects. Just search for “chocolate covered insects” at, and you’ll see what I mean.

From what I’ve read in the last few years, some restaurants in the United States are including insects in certain food items for the shock value more than the nutrition or the taste.

Animal Food

When I was young, I saw cats eating cicadas and crickets. By the way, cicadas and locusts are two different insects, even if both are edible. Some people I’ve known over the years have said locust instead of cicada, so I thought I should clarify that. Since then, I’ve seen other animals eating insects. Humans are scientifically classified as animals, but we aren’t animals. Reptiles like frogs, snakes, and lizards are obvious insect predators.

The mother of one of my daughters-in-law calls shrimp, crabs, and lobsters the cockroaches of the ocean and won’t even touch them. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. A cicada is supposed to be distantly related to one sea creature or another. I eat things today that I would never have tried when I was young, including squid. I haven’t tried any insects (that I know of), but I suppose I would if I found myself in a position where I was hungry enough to eat almost anything. It isn’t something I would ever look forward to experiencing.

Image by User:Takoradee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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