What Happens When You Eat Bugs for 31 Days? Days 4-10

By Laura D’Asaro and Meghan Proulx

This is the third story in a series! If you need to catch up, check out the first and second stories.

 

A woman in Australia did a week of bugs earlier this year and called the experience "awful." Well of course it was awful! She ate mostly dried bugs in bags, and if you ate plain freeze dried anything for 7 days you too would spend most of the week sobbing.

That article is one of the reasons I am doing this. I want to show people how many different ways there are to eat bugs. Some ways of cooking insects are not going to be good, just like any ingredient, but some are honestly amazing, like the grasshopper tacos I have on Day 8.

Day 4

I’ve been eating bugs for three days now and the hardest part has honestly been all of the questions. I work in a communal office and everytime I make lunch, everyone wants to try a bite. While I’m all for sharing food, get your own bugs, people!

While it’s been easy so far, the next few days are about to be hectic with work and travel and I’m nervous that I might be tempted into laziness.

But for today, luckily I had leftover cricket protein waffles for breakfast and mealworm tacos for lunch, both of which are great because you can’t really tell there are bugs in them, which means fewer questions from strangers.

In the afternoon I was feeling peckish again, (probably because I had inhaled my food earlier) and decided I wanted dessert.

Last year, Wayback burger decided to pull an April Fools joke and serve cricket flour milkshakes. However, it was such a success that they kept selling them all year long! I decided to try it myself but with a little twist. Not having access to a blender at work, I microwaved some cookie dough ice cream until it was milkshake consistency and bended in two tablespoons of cricket flour. The people around me were confused but, whatever! It tasted great.

After work, I participated in what some might call an “unconventional way to meet someone”.  My co-founder Rose pitched me like a product to a crowd of 100 strangers and friends at a comedy show called “Tinder Disrupt.” After being simultaneously praised and roasted for 20 minutes, I got the host to try crickets, was bought a few drinks, left with five numbers, and went home to where my true love awaited me: grilled cheese.

Rose presents Laura at Tinder Disrupt. Please excuse the drawn on heart, this is a screenshot.

Rose presents Laura at Tinder Disrupt. Please excuse the drawn on heart, this is a screenshot.

I pulled out the bread and cheddar, fried up a hefty handful of my Ovipost crickets, and tossed them into my mouth like popcorn as I flipped my grilled cheese. I nestled the remaining fried crickets between the vegetables in my sandwich. I had a hard time keeping the crickets on the inside of the sandwich so I think next time I would press the crickets inside while the cheese is still hot.

Days 5-7: Insects on a Plane

Cricket Security

You might be surprised to find out that it’s uncommon for people to bring crickets through airport security. Well it is! After being lightly questioned by a very befuddled security guard, I was given the go-ahead to bring insects across state lines.

With a hour to spare at the airport before my flight, I perused some of the gift shops and was surprised to find a few bags of Don Bugitos chocolate covered crickets and coconut caramel mealworms. I bought the place out and took my new companions with me to Seattle.

Over the next few days, I got creative with my crickets. I was busy demoing at a Fred Meyer grocery store so I put them in everything portable including a Starbucks Frappuccino, sushi, and a parfait. I even chowed down a cricket crunch cereal of my own creation.

cricket cereal

I am a week into my 31 days now and so far I’ve felt fuller than I usually do, I’ve lost two pounds, and overall I feel normal. Maybe I should step it up a notch?

Day 8

I was due for another meal mistake and today it came in the unlikely form of a cricket cream cheese spread. As daintily as I tried to sprinkle cricket flour a top my cream cheese bagel, this was not a good combo. Do not try this at home, people!

Lunch was a step up and I got to experience what happens when you bring your own bugs to eat at a restaurant.  Our new interns started today, so we took them out to a lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I ordered the tofu vermicelli bowl and, much to my surprise, no one gave me confused or concerned glances as I poured insects from a plastic bag into my bowl. The waiter did take an extra hard look when he took my dishes away, however.

That night I had one of the meals I was most eager to try.

Often when I meet someone who has eaten bugs before, they tell me they ate insects in the form of chocolate covered crickets or a smothered grasshopper taco.

I planned from the beginning of these 31 days to make buggy tacos and today my grasshoppers from Merci Mercado arrived.

grasshopper tacos

At first, I was eating them faster than I could fry them, but eventually I added some butter to a pan with onions, tossed the grasshoppers in, and then flipped everything onto corn tortillas.

I would eat these regularly, no question. I would prefer them fresh, but if you only have access to dried insects, these are the best I've had!

If you’re wondering what grasshoppers taste like, they’re meaty and a bit sour, but in a good way. They go great with spice and salt and taste substantial on a taco!

Day 9

I know I have been raving about how good everything is but I can’t help it! I'm excited to see how many fantastic insect products there are now and all the dishes you can incorporate bugs into.  And this morning was no different, I had yogurt with mango with Seek granola and it was one of the best cricket products I’ve ever had. This granola is seriously gourmet and reminded me of the delicate little bags of granola you can get at Tartine for a shocking $12.

Seek Granola and Yogurt

While breakfast was pretty filling, I was doing a lot of running around today and so was hungry again before lunch, so I snacked on a Choco Banana Naak bar. For all you Canadians out there, Naak is your go-to! They have a bunch of different flavors, are very filling, and don’t skimp on the the cricket.

Granola is great but let’s talk about nachos.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but as the world record holder for the largest serving of nachos, I am considered by many to be a nacho expert. And as a nacho expert, when I say that my Chirps and grasshopper nachos were pure cheesy gold, you best believe it.

They were so good, in fact, that for dinner I wanted more chips and grasshoppers and this led to something honestly kind of weird: Sea Salt and Vinegar chips plus grasshoppers.

Okay, so maybe potato chips for dinner isn’t the healthiest, but I am obsessed.

This happened kind of by accident. The grasshoppers were delivered the same time that my roommate had salt and vinegar chips, so wanting chips and having to incorporate bugs into everything I eat, I tossed some grasshoppers in. The sourness of the grasshoppers along with the vinegar was so addictingly good that I couldn't get enough. After work, I bought another bag of chips and poured the rest of the container of grasshoppers into it. Seriously. Try it.

Day 10

If the words “fruit fly protein smoothie” terrify you then keep reading, because I want to convert you.

Flies definitely get a bad rep, because they are common and thought of as a pest. These flies, however, are harvested before they are fully formed and still look like small grains of rice, which means they have yet to start flying around and landing on who knows what. Fly protein is almost entirely flavorless. I made a strawberry smoothie this morning and I couldn't taste it at all which means it acts similarly to a nutritional supplement or protein powder.

Hornworm in hand

Hornworm in hand

Lunch today was one that I have had planned since I decided to eat bugs for 31 days. How does a hornworm caprese sandwich sound to you? When they’re still crawling around, hornworms look like bright bluish green birthday candles. Meghan, our marketing coordinator even got a little attached and started calling them her "little friends." (Generally speaking, it’s ill-advised to give your lunch pet names.) They are also often called tomato hornworms because they will eat your tomatoes. These little guys truly are what they eat because they taste just like tomatoes.

I decided to do a classic tomato-centric dish and make caprese sandwiches. The team's conclusion was that the hornworms did indeed taste like tomatoes! They are a bit juicy (like tomatoes) so these might not be the best insects to start with for the inexperienced bug eater.

For dinner today I went back to the basics and enjoyed some fried crickets from Tiny Farms with pandan leaves. Pandan leaves are fragrant and add a flavor and scent similar to vanilla or coconut. I got the inspiration and recipe from this BBC video of lunchtime at a school in Thailand. If you are curious what pandan leaves are or where to get them, I ordered mine from importfood.com

I then had some Honey and Seeds Seek snack bites and then called it a day. That night, I dreamt it was my birthday and instead of eating cake, we ate worms. Yum!