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Beefeater Burt goes buggy over insect-laced menu

I grew up on a small family farm where we always had one beef in the freezer and the next fattening up in the barn. We dined on steak, pork and chicken.

But NEVER crickets. Nor grasshoppers, mealworms nor grubs. If Mom found bugs crawling through the flour, out it went. Creepy crawlies had no place on the down-home menu.

When in the movie “The Jungle Book,” Baloo the bear advised Mowgli, “When you look under the rocks and plants / And take a glance at the fancy ants / Then maybe try a few / The bare necessities of life will come to you,” we giggled at the humor.

Choke back those chuckles. In an EverydayHealth article titled, “5 Bugs You Can Eat (and Why They’re Good for You),” author Jessica Migala calls crickets a probiotics-packed “entry level” insect, protein-rich mealworms a versatile food source since they can be broiled, roasted, fried, boiled or steamed, termites a fantastic source of magnesium and other essential minerals, grasshoppers the “the new shrimp” just swimming with antioxidants, and roasted black soldier fly larvae a wonderfully healthy snack.

Queasy yet?

One nutritionist claimed that a pound of grasshoppers is three times as nutritious as a pound of beef.

A frightening vision of the drive-through of the future flashed through my head:

“Welcome to Buggies. Go ahead with your order.”

“Uh, yeah, I’d like a quarter-pounder hopper with extra mealworms, a medium order of french-fried flies and a termite shake, please. Oh, and a meal deal squishy centipede toy.”

You don’t think so? Epicureans around the world already feast on worms and insects. WebMD states, “Not long ago, sushi and lobster didn’t seem all that appetizing to Americans, so it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.”

Yeah, right.

WebMD also expanded the list of healthy bugs:

・ The lemony-flavored larvae and pupae of the weaver ant provide plenty of protein;

・ Buttery bee larvae ranks high in amino acids, nutrients and vitamin Bee, er, B;

・ Dry-roasted beetles are added to recipes for protein, vitamins and minerals;

・ Fried or braised caterpillars in spicy sauce are considered wonderful in parts of Africa, Asia and Mexico;

・ Stinkbugs are just oozing in fatty acids, flavonoids, amino acids, iron, potassium and phosphorus (and in stink, as I recall — the Limburger cheese of the bug world).

The best part — you don’t have to catch your own bugs! Check out these deals on everyone’s favorite online store:

For $10, you can gobble up a half-ounce bag of Erbies Edible Bugs Mixed Trail Mix, an assortment of seasoned and crunchy house crickets, field crickets, grasshoppers, silkworm pupae and sago worms; for $19, you can snag about a third of an ounce of ecoEat Edible Insects Big Crickets Covered in Dark Chocolate; or for $28.50, order a half pound of Bud’s Whole Roasted Crickets (Bud notes that the crickets are humanely raised).

But don’t look for me. I’m choosing a double cheeseburger (beef) with extra ketchup (minus the tomato bugs).

Cole will be swatting bugs with his children’s novels at the Geneva Sidewalk Sale 9 to 4 p.m. July 16 in downtown Geneva. Contact him at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, or visit the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or www.burtonwcole.com.

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