Bug CuisineCricket Chef
Cricket Chef Think you've never eaten a bug? Experts say we eat them all the time unintentionally. But did you know that as much as 80 percent of the human population are actually connoisseurs of insect food? Early Native Americans had a fondness for grasshoppers, insects that have been eaten in Africa since biblical times.

Many people in Southeast Asia consume giant waterbugs. These bugs, called "mangda" in Thai, are eaten directly or as a paste condiment in which to dip vegetables.

Want a new way to rid your home of termites? Eat 'em. They do in central Africa.

So have you worked up an appetite? Here are some simple insect recipes we've assembled.

Bee Grubs in Coconut Cream (Mang Non Won)
Marinate bee grubs, sliced onions and citrus leaves in coconut cream containing some pepper. Wrap in pieces of linen and steam. Serve as a topping for rice.

Chocolate Covered Crickets
  • 2 Squares of semisweet chocolate
  • 25 dry-roasted crickets and/or grasshoppers with legs and wings removed
Melt chocolate as directed on the box. Dip insects in chocolate, place on wax paper and refrigerate.

Insect preparation: To clean insects, place in a colander or fine mesh strainer, rinse and pat dry. Dry roast in a 300-degree oven until crispy. They can be ground into flour, cut into pieces or served whole.

Dragonfly Nymphs (Mang Por)
Boil dragonfly nymphs. Eat them.

Dry Roasted Insects
Spread fresh, frozen and cleaned insects on paper towels on a cookie sheet. Bake at 200° for 1-2 hours until desired state of dryness is reached. Check state of dryness by attempting to crush insect with spoon.

Garlic Butter Fried Insects
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup cleaned insects*
Melt butter in fry pan. Reduce heat. Sauté garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add insects. Continue sautéing for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

* Mealworms are especially delicious prepared in this manner.

Grasshopper Fritters
  • 3/4 cup sifted flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 cup grasshoppers
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Slowly add milk and beat until smooth. Add egg and beat well. Pluck off grasshopper wings and legs, heads optional. Dip insects in egg batter and deep fry. Salt and serve.

Parcht Locusts
Locusts and grasshoppers are prepared for cooking by removing the wings, the small legs, and the distal portion of the hind legs. Then pull off the head, withdrawing any attached viscera.

Boil prepared Rocky Mountain locusts in salted water. Add assorted cut-up vegetables, butter, salt and vinegar to the broth and cook until the vegetables are tender. Serve as a thick soup or over boiled rice as a main dish.

Popcorn Crunch
Here's an easy treat to prepare and take to the drive-in movie. The kids will love it.

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 quarts popcorn, popped
  • 1 cup dry roasted insects, chopped
Blend the butter and honey together in a saucepan and heat gently. Mix the popcorn with the insects and pour the butter-honey mixture over it. Mix well. Spread on a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Bake at 350° 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Break into bite-sized pieces.

Toffee Surprise
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup live mealworms (you can get them at a pet shop or bait shop)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • colander
  • paper towel
  • cookie sheet
  • 9-inch square baking pan
Mealworms come in a container with either bran or crumpled newspaper. To separate the mealworms from the packing material, place in colander and gently toss. Remove dead mealworms and any other bits of debris. Wash mealworms in colander under cool water. Place on paper towel and pat dry. They are now ready for cooking.

Place paper towel on cookie sheet. Spread mealworms on paper towel and place in 200-degree oven for one to two hours until they are thoroughly dry and crunchy. They are now dry roasted.

Butter baking pan. Coarsely chop dry-roasted mealworms and set aside. Carefully heat sugar and butter in saucepan until boiling. Stir over medium heat for seven minutes. Remove from heat and stir in roasted insects. Pour into pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot mixture and cover pan for five minutes or until chocolate melts. Remove cover and spread melted chocolate evenly over toffee. While still warm, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Refrigerate until firm.