The Daily Digestion: Cricket Taco with extra crickets

The Food for Thought food truck offers crickets as a side to their tacos. (Photo by Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Someday we’ll all eat bugs.

The United Nations is all for it, calling them a sustainable and relatively Earth-friendly meat option. Time magazine explored the topic recently and found we haven’t quite mastered feeding crickets to be much more protein packed than chicken, but the day is coming. I decided to bite into the Food for Thought truck’s protein of the future.

You get a plastic cup like those for ketchup in the dining halls; a little pile of roasted crickets in your hand.

The ick factor didn’t really hit me. The bug quirks that unnerve me have typically been their freaky twitches and excessive legs. But these little guys are mostly legless and super dead.

The crickets aren’t crunchy so much as they are collapse-y. I disagree wholeheartedly with any comparison to nuts. You can pop little Jiminy into your mouth and he’ll almost immediately grind into dirt. Eating them makes you thirsty.

Maybe I’ve been poorly trained for eating Bug’s Life characters through gummy worms and candy spiders. Roasted crickets, of course, lack that same high-fructose delectability and instead come off almost entirely flavorless.

The challenge of crickets is finding their culinary niche. They can’t be standalone entrees, and they don’t really work as snacks.

Food for Thought probably has the right idea: condiments. Food supplements. The Thai Taco is a tangy and wonderful lunch wrap. Sweet, spicy, savory sauce decorating a near-perfectly textured chicken plus a sandwich vegetable medley.

The crickets work here, mostly because you don’t really notice them. I can’t say they are better for the taste or texture (they can’t compete with lettuce for a classic crunch), but they don’t do it harm. Crickets in my taco are a way I can embrace the future, as long as they’re cooked.

But why stop there? There’s innovation to be done! Left with several spare cups of crickets, I decided to experiment.

Sprinkling crickets onto your ice cream will confuse your taste buds. The sublime is sometimes described as a kind beauty enhanced by elements of the hideous or terrifying. Crickets and ice cream tastes something like that.

The bitter little crickets make you all the more aware of ice cream’s unadulterated sweetness. It’s delightful. But then, the crickets attack. That same sweetness will obliterate your ability to tolerate the bitter. The cricket dust accumulates in your mouth and tastes like actual dirt. It is so bitter that even undoctored UC Bold comes as a relief.

Mixing crickets with your pasta can come out to be an equally terrible clash in a completely different way. You can chew chitin with ease, but it’s easy enough for a sliver to hide itself in your vodka penne and harpoon your check. It’s inadvisable.

The greatest combination worked out to be crickets and cheeseburger. It feels super American to drown out any rebellious bitterness in a sea of mustard and pickle. But it may or may not completely defeat the purpose of a post-beef protein source to pop it on a burger.

All else aside, the future is now and the future eats crickets.


Christopher McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mcdermott@uconn.edu.