Spit Out That Cicada, Right Now

Spit Out That Cicada, Right Now
Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

If you have observed the emergence of Brood X, the one-in-17-years cicada swarm, and thought, I want that in my mouth, you are not alone. The cicada consumes the plant fluids; the American consumes the cicada; the FDA warns Americans about consuming cicadas. It is the natural order.

This afternoon, the FDA emphatically tweeted a warning for cicada eaters:

Yep! We have to say it!

Don’t eat #cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.

The FDA linked to a general page on major food allergens which does not include cicadas at this time.

However, Haley Weiss, who recently reviewed a cicada dining experience for The Atlantic, confirmed a shrimpy flavour in “meatier” treatments. (Weiss verified suspicions that the roasted variety with juicy innards are horrendous but recommended the more popcorn-chickpea-essence of air-fried cicadas for minimum unpleasantness — “not bad!”)

The National Park Service has reported that the limited-time-only paleo-friendly food source/billions of bugs are currently available to diners now in parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee. They can grow up to two inches long, about the size of flying cocktail wieners. Unlike cocktail wieners, they have five eyes, and females carry about 500 eggs.

The FDA has also previously warned us not to let our dogs eat too many of them. They’re not saying we are dogs, but I get the message. Thinking about it another way, we could all be more exciting, worldly people like tourists ordering chapulines. Or a third way, serving the sole purpose of our own species, which is to answer the mighty call of TikTok.