What You Don’t Know You’ve Eaten Can’t Hurt You

I was going to relegate this link (alert: PDF file) to the sidebar, because who needs yet another list of cicada recipes? But then I started skimming over the intro, and came across this reasonably interesting bit of trivia:

“You have, in fact, probably already eaten many pounds of insects in your lifetime. Most Americans don’t realize that they are eating a pound or two of insects each year.”

“Right, right, swallowing bugs while running, etc.,” you say. “Gulping spiders while you sleep,” you say. “Old hat.”

Except that’s not what she (the author) means. What she means is:

“…insects are a part of all processed foods from bread to tomato ketchup—it’s impossible to keep mass-produced food 100% insect-free. There are regulations stating the maximum amount of bug bits that food can contain and still be fit for human consumption. These bits, unseen, have been ground up into tiny pieces in such items as strawberry jams, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, frozen chopped broccoli, etc. For example, the ‘Food Defect Action Levels’, as currently defined by the Food and Drug Administration state that macaroni and noodle products can have 225 or more insect parts per 225 grams of product (4). This may sound disgusting, but these insect parts actually make some food products more nutritious.” [emphasis added]

Go give it a glance. In addition to covering the history of humankind’s intimate culinary relationship with those shelled marvels, the piece also gives numerous recipes that call for cicadas, from ‘Cicada Dumplings’ to ‘El Chirper Tacos.’

(University of Maryland: “CICADA-LICIOUS: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas” by Jenna Jadin and the University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs [2004])