The 2013 brood of the 17-year cicada has been getting quite a bit of coverage in the various news media. I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords, or I would if they would only arrive in the City of Y______.
For the record, I have only eaten two cicadas in my life. The first time I ate a cicada, I had been drinking copious amounts of beer at a friend's parents' house. Before leaving, I noticed a cicada on the screen of the kitchen door and mused, "I read that these things are edible." My friend, knowing me well, replied, "Oh, shit, you're really going to..." Before he could finish, I had grabbed the thing, which commenced to make a racket... which I stilled by biting its head off. If I had to describe the sensation of eating a cicada, I'd liken it to eating a celery-flavored M&M- crunchy candy shell and a "green" tasting interior. It was not bad at all. The second time I ate a cicada was in my own backyard. A bunch of my brother Vincenzo's classmates were staying at the family homestead, and we were cooking out on the patio. One of my brother's friends, a kid from Minnesota, had never encountered a cicada, so he was a bit put off at the sight of a bug the size of his thumb flying around. He said, "What the hell is that thing?" I told him, "It's a cicada, a big noisy bug that's not bad eating." With that, I caught the cicada, stuck it on a fork, grilled it, and ate it. My brother's friend turned as green as the cicada. Again, copious amounts of beer had been consumed. Now, regarding cicadas, I have to say, they're not bad, but I wouldn't bust my hump trying to catch enough to make a meal of. If I can grab one or two out of the billions that will be swarming, I would probably relive my entomophagous endeavors, but I'm not going to knock myself out chasing cicadas. For those of you who are cringing, and saying "How could you eat a bug like that?" I have this to say- if a shrimp crawled out from under your radiator, you'd smash it, but since it was pulled out of the ocean, you'd pay $16.99/lb for it? Really, a shrimp is just a sea bug... think of the cicada as a tree shrimp and munch away!
I have a wonderful co-worker, a soft-spoken, well-educated woman from Argentina who is not too keen on bugs, but her two awesome daughters are the sort of nerdy tomboys who are budding entomologists. Those girls love bugs, and mom is able to suppress her squeamishness really well for their sake. Of course, the two are kids after my own heart, and I am an enabler... I gave the girls a plant with a mantis ootheca and mom put it outside their house so they could watch for the emergence of the baby mantises. I also staked out a few milkweed plants for the girls so they can keep an eye out for monarch caterpillars. The girls and I are bug buddies, so to speak. While the girls were keenly looking forward to the impending cicada invasion, mom wasn't sharing their enthusiasm. I tried to mollify her dubious feelings about the bugs by telling her, "Well, they're as big as your thumb, they're green on top and white on the bottom, and they are extremely noisy... just think of them as flying frogs and you won't be quite so freaked out."