Adventurous eaters chow down on cicadas
By Jennifer Justus, The Tennessean
The Nashville native, who has weathered her share of 13-year cicada cycles, handled it with far more grace than a "Fear Factor" contestant: no tears, no trips to the nearest restroom.
After all, the insects have been enjoyed as culinary delicacies around the world for centuries. So why not in her kitchen ?
"We talked about it and (her husband, Jeffrey) said, 'You know people really eat them,' " she recalled, talking over dinner recently. "One of our relatives even said they taste really good with tempura batter and buttermilk."
Later that evening, they were in the yard with a pair of tongs, and then they had a skillet of butter, garlic and red-eyed critter.
But before noses turn up at the Hornes' choice of post-dinner snack, it's worth mentioning that the cicada comes from the Arthropoda group of creatures along with lobster, shrimp, crayfish and crab. According to Jenna Jadin of the University of Maryland, the inexpensive sources of protein are a staple in diets of Australian aborigines, New Guineans, Thai and American Indians. They were considered a special treat in ancient Greece and Rome and still are in Japan.
This year, Brood XIX cicadas have been emerging in parts of 14 Southern and Midwestern states.
So how does a cicada taste?
"It wasn't gross. I was a little more grossed out by the way they look," Horne said. "They have a nutty flavor -- kind of like peanuts or almonds. … I've heard they taste really good with chocolate."
They also can be prepared in an approach similar to what the Hornes did -- sauteed with not much more than butter and lots of garlic. Or as an Asian-influenced dish, or in a taco.
"I do like to cook," Horne said. "I actually played with the idea of a cocktail and cicada party."
"Put your big girl panties on and do it"
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