TO  TAKE A BITE  OUT OF  




Cicadas à la carte? 

Here’s why it’s so hard to get Americans to eat bugs
Lobbyists, conspiracy theories, and your "ick" factor stand in the way


Edible insects could decarbonize America's food system. But lobbyists,

 conspiracy theories, and your "ick" factor stand in the way.

When Cortni Borgerson thinks about the trillion or so periodical cicadas

emerging from underground, she sees more than clumsily flying insects 

flitting from tree to tree in search of a mate. She sees lunch.

Some may find that idea revolting, a belief often, if unknowingly, steeped

 in colonialism and the notion that eating insects is "uncivilized." But 

Borgerson, an anthropologist at Montclair State University, is a big fan

 of dining on bugs of all kinds, but finds cicadas particularly appetizing.

 "It's one of the best American insects," she says.

Their texture, she says, is something like peeled shrimp, and their taste

 akin to what you'd experience 

"if a chicken nugget and a sunflower seed had a baby
"Some insects have an incredible opportunity, and a potential, to reduc

e our carbon footprint in a delicious, but sustainable, way," she says.

Roughly 30 percent of the world's population considers insects a delicacy

A study published earlier this year found that over 3,000 ethnic groups 

across 128 countries eat 2,205 species of Insecta,

Julie Lesnik, an anthropologist at Wayne State University who studies the 

Western bias toward eating things like beetles, calls the "ick" response 

many Americans have toward the idea a cultural byproduct of colonization.

"Disgust is felt very viscerally and biologically," she says. "So to tell 

somebody their aversion to insects is cultural and not physiologically

 programmed is a difficult thing to wrap your head around, because 

you can feel your stomach turn, you can feel the gag reflex come up 

if you are disgusted by the idea of eating insects. But disgust is one of

 the few learned emotions. So we are disgusted by the things our culture

 tells us to be disgusted by."

Such a reaction also can be a sign of internalized prejudice, she says

. Indigenous peoples throughout North America once consumed a variety

 of insects, a practice European colonists deemed "uncivilized" — a way to "other" nonwhite communities and cultural practices.

 "Is it racist? Yes, simply put," Lesnik says.