Jewish World Review May 25, 2004 / 5 Sivan, 5764
Guess what's coming to dinner?
Offering further evidence that Americans may be carrying this low-carb- diet thing a little too far, a Bloomington, Ind., man required medical treatment after eating nearly 30 sautéed cicadas.
Cicadas, possibly the only annoying pests on Earth that does not call Florida home, are emerging by the billions from their 17-year underground slumber over much of the northeastern U.S. and the Midwest.
If you are experiencing a cicada invasion for the first time, it's unlikely that you would examine the dozens of red-eyed, orange-winged creatures clinging to your T-shirt and say to yourself, "Wow! I bet these little beauties would make a great stir-fry with some crushed garlic and basil!"
More likely, your first thought is going to be, "This is it. Hell's gates have finally been flung open and we're all going to die."
Or at the very least go deaf.
Because cicadas are loud. Very loud. To compare the noise they make to singing is like comparing a train wreck to the sound of falling snow. Imagine enjoying a cool beverage on your patio while 10,000 chain saws are working in the background. That gives you some sense of the unearthly din.
And this isn't over in a day or two or even a week. Cicadas hang around for six weeks before burrowing underground for another 17-year nap.
But you've got to give them credit; they make the most of their time here. They ruin barbecues and outdoor weddings. They make holding a normal conversation impossible unless your definition of a normal conversation is cupping your hands around your mouth and shouting directly into your companion's ear. They clog pool filters and just generally give you the sense that you're swimming in a wriggling, buzzing insect stew.
Which brings us back to the topic of eating cicadas. Let me state at the outset that I am not one of those people who is horrified by the thought of eating insects. Insects, or at least insect parts, can be found in just about everything we eat. The federal government even has regulations stating how many insect parts can be contained in your Big Mac. (What did you think made it taste so good? The secret sauce?)
Also, I grew up around Baltimore and anyone who eats crabs has no business screwing up his nose at other people's food choices.
So, if someone wants to pluck a handful of cicadas off his shirt and throw them in a skillet with coriander, ginger root and maybe a splash of soy sauce, I say have at it. (While cooking, it would probably not be a good time to recall how the dog reacted after eating a yard's worth of live cicadas.)
But before lifting that first succulent forkful of Shanghai Cicadas to your mouth (I recommend serving this dish with a nice, slightly chilled Pinot Grigio) it might be a good idea to check with your doctor to see if you're allergic to cicadas.
Otherwise, don't be surprised if the dessert course consists of a wailing, high-speed ambulance ride to the emergency room where they'll pump you full of antihistamines, steroids and maybe a shot of adrenaline for a nightcap.
Which is basically what happened to the Indiana man, who arrived at the hospital covered in hives head to toe.
For the record, the man said the cicadas didn't taste too bad, but his wife complained of the cooking aroma.
Personally, I think I'll stick with chicken nuggets.
Without the breading, of course.
Too many carbs.
Appreciate this column? Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.
05/18/04: Dogs have changed for the worse
05/11/04: You rant, you pay
05/03/04: A new generation of civility
04/27/04: Repeat at your own risk
04/19/04: Brits learn grammar from Americans
04/05/04: Got those customer survey blues
03/31/04: Name that planetoid
03/24/04: Mind-melding is not for the squeamish
03/16/04: Write that novel QUICK!
03/10/04: Turns out robots are as unhelpful as people
03/02/04: Dictators' softer side
02/23/04: Is there life after Ken?
02/18/04: California needs its chi adjusted
02/11/04: Pleeze by sum stuph frum me
02/03/04: A tale of two generations
01/28/04: Warning: Labels on products are getting wackier and wackier
01/21/04: It's a computer! No, it's a side dish! Skeptical? Look under the hood
01/07/04: Nursery rhymes to scare the kids by
12/30/03: Ear-scratcher fingered by police
12/24/03: Gifts for that not-so-special someone
12/18/03: Things we hate to do
12/09/03: Keep your name out of this book
12/03/03: When tots control the world
11/18/03: Danger: TVs falling from above
11/11/03: Songs that won't go away
11/04/03: Keep technology away from the monkeys
10/29/03: A career of sensational regrets
10/22/03: Ig Nobels reward weird science
10/16/03: TV golf needs a kick in the pants
10/08/03: That's geek to me
09/30/03: A man, a woman and a cat
09/22/03: A tale of two spams
09/16/03: Librarian action figure will be taking no guff
09/10/03: Slackers need to remain invisible
09/02/03: No fun in the summertime
08/26/03: The algebra of love
08/11/03: Journey to the center of the pavement cracks
08/06/03: Word dominance by U.S. appears a fait accompli
07/28/03: Ads that are hard to swallow
07/09/03: Keep cows out of the classroom
07/03/03: Little-appreciated facts about unshaven men
06/24/03: Brother, can you paradigm?
06/18/03: Cats, TV not a good mix
06/10/03: In defense of grumpiness
06/04/03: Do we really need keyboards in our Port-A-Johns?
05/29/03: Always a dull men's moment
05/21/03: Bad PC hygiene leads to bugs
05/12/03:Army mops up; Tony Blair doesn't
05/06/03: Grill a hamburger for PETA
05/01/03: Exams spice history
04/23/03: Too much money? Tax me more!
04/14/03: When good gourds go bad
04/11/03: One fish-tale that isn't --- and that's no lie!
04/02/03: Do you really want to know what your dog's thinking?
03/26/03: Pajamas make high school less stressful
03/21/03: It's time to be nice to the French
03/03/03: The ultimate clean and constructive sport
02/12/03: Get a bang out of cleaning with cruise vacuum
02/06/03: Voluntary kindness? Not likely
01/28/03: Signs our economy is on upswing
01/22/03: There may be cash in your old underwear
01/15/03: Banish these words, now more than ever
01/07/03: Coughing as an art form
12/24/02: Parents shell out for missed homework
12/17/02: French government says no to @ symbol
12/11/02: A latecomer joins fellowship of the DVD
12/02/02: Don't worry, be fat, unfit and really happy
11/18/02: Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon
11/06/02: A noose by any other name ...
10/29/02: Iranian dogs on notice
10/22/02: Talk about a job that stinks --- literally!
10/15/02: The official world's funniest joke
10/02/02: Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus
09/27/02: Oh, no! Bosses want to know what's on your mind
09/24/02: An airbag, humanity's salvation?
09/17/02: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
09/06/02: Come listen to a story about a man named ... Bill
09/03/02: You're not in preschool anymore!
08/30/02: A charming idea from a brutal, whacked-out, megalomaniacal dictator-for-life
08/26/02: Blubber water? How to put on the pounds by gulping H20
08/21/02: The latest evidence that Mother Nature is out to kill us
08/13/02: Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
08/06/02: The sky's not falling? Dang it!
08/02/02: Some fond memories of worst TV shows
07/30/02: Pay my credit-card bill, please?
07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending
© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune