Eat any insects lately? What are you waiting for?
Earlier this month, Wayback Burgers launched an Oreo mud pie cricket protein milkshake with chocolate-flavored cricket powder.
Cricket. As in bugs.
The burger chain tested the item at one of its Long Island locations on April 1 (started as an April Fool's joke to create buzz). But the cricket shake proved so popular, the chain is offering the buggy treat in its stores through September -- and may make it permanent.
At an Explorers Club dinner at the American Museum of Natural History in March, all of the cocktail hour's hors d'oeuvres were made of insects. Neal deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, sampled the cricket canapé wrapped in bacon.
While noting the insect sampler was "not as good as a rib-eye," Tyson told NPR that "insects have been long known as a great source of protein, so I don't have a problem with that."
Insects also contain high levels of nutrients, and eating them is good for the planet. I've obviously been looking at the cockroaches crawling around my kitchen the wrong way. Talk about convenience food!
I hate to break it to you, but peanut butter and other processed foods already contain an FDA-approved limit of insect pieces. So yes, you are already consuming them on a regular basis. Sorry about that.
At this point, a lot of you are probably bugging out. I'm pretty adventurous, and have eaten alligator (tastes like chicken) and other exotic dishes. I suppose I could down an insect, especially if it's disguised in a shake.
We are horrified when nationalities eat dog or horse meat, but have no problem with cows and pigs. Seems like disgust is in the eye of the beholder. Eating sushi -- raw fish -- was once considered repugnant by some in our culture. It eventually became mainstream. Can insects ever be considered a delicacy here? Such fare is already popular in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and eaten by about 2 billion people worldwide, according to the UN.
Here in the United States, Fresh Direct started carrying Exo protein bars made from cricket flour a year ago, and it's only a matter of time until a major American chain offers its insect line.
Bugger King, anyone?
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.