Why Would Anyone Want To Eat These Things?

Cicadas are readying to emerge from their 17-year hibernation schedule in 2021
(Photo by Moonlight0551/CC BY 2.0)

When I first read about these delicacies, which are dubbed the “Shrimp of the Land,” I thought it was a joke article. I love satirical humor articles from sources like The Onion and The Babylon Bee because they are sharp, biting, and hysterically funny.
But this article, written by Michael Woyton, appeared in The Patch.
Many experts were quoted from places like the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. All agreed that eating these rare delicacies was not only tasty, but they were also good for you. They are high in protein and low in fat.
In what sounded like something out of the movie Forrest Gump, the article touted many ways they could be prepared. You could deep fry them and serve them with hot mustard. You could marinate them in teriyaki sauce or bake them into a cake or pie.
Being exceedingly rare, they are considered a delicacy, appearing once every 17 years. And this April, they will be emerging from the ground in 15 states, including New York.
It’s time for billions of Great Eastern Brood (Brood X) Cicadas to make their way into our backyards and, according to these nutjobs, onto a dinner plate near you.
Don’t be concerned if you are starting to turn pale. That made me gag too.

Have people lost their minds? Why would anyone harvest, cook and eat these disgusting things? Just the thought of biting into one of those monstrosities, prepared like General Tso’s Chicken, makes me consider blowing chunks.
Noting that the cicada is considered an arthropod (jointed limbs, segmented body and an exoskeleton), Isa Betancourt said, “We regularly eat shrimp, lobster and crabs. Those are the arthropods of the sea.” Betancourt, an entomologist from Drexel University, indicated that cicadas taste a little like shrimp.

Hey Isa? I don’t usually eat anything with a head and eyes staring back at me. The shrimp on my plate doesn’t look anything like what comes out of the ocean.
To take things to the next level, Mike Raupp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, created a book with his students called Cicada-Licious: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas.
Don’t bother. I couldn’t find it on Amazon. You can Google it and download it for free. It’s filled with recipes for using cicadas in stir fry, tacos, pizza and cookies. The first chapter is titled “How I Learned to Love the Bug.” I kid you not…
I’m getting the willies just typing these words.

“These are the Truffles of the insect world,” another entomologist from the University of Maryland, Gaye Williams, said. “Americans are the only ones around who are grossed out by eating insects. For most people around the world, insects are a major food source or delicacy.”
Did she say insects are a major food source in some countries?
There’s a reason we don’t eat bugs in this country. You can find a McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King or Wendy’s everywhere you turn. When it gets to the point that we can order Cicada Nuggets, I’ll call it a day. I’ll bet Ms. Williams doesn’t order the Cicada Noodle soup at Panera if butternut squash is available.

So, get ready, Suffolk County. Looks like residents near East Setauket, Stony Brook, Ronkonkoma and Connetquot River State Park may get the bulk of these things. They had extensive breakouts there in 2004, the last time Brood X broke ground.
It’s been 17 years since we last saw the Magicicada Cassini. Since then, they have been sucking on plant fat and synchronizing their watches. When the countdown reaches zero, all the alarm clocks go off simultaneously and they make their way up to the surface.
And who knows? With billions of them around, they could soon be making their way to a fast-food restaurant near you.


Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.

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