Crickets: They're What's For Dinner

Bulk Crickets

Crickets are a staple for some pets, with bearded dragons, lizards and iguanas among them. Those particular pets are insectivores, meaning they'll devour all types of live insects, including the feeder crickets that Top Hat Cricket Farm has grown and supplied for 65 years. And reptiles aren't the only animals that crave crickets.

Get this - entomophagy is what we call the use of edible insects as food for human beings, and humans have dined on them for over a million years. Worms, too, including the mealworms that Top Hat Cricket Farms raise and ship to customers nationwide. It's common to find insects on your plate in Africa, Asia and Latin America; in some cultures they're a delicacy. Although that was once considered pretty rare in the U.S., we're starting to catch on.

Deep-fried, pan-fried, saut├ęd, baked, you name it. Some chefs crush bugs for the bartender to rim a cocktail class. Others bake with cricket flour. Salt and vinegar-flavored crickets - or barbecue-flavored, or seasoned with bacon and cheese - are a crunchy-crawly snack with a taste that some liken to popcorn. You can even find them in smoothies and lollipops.

As nutritious as they are delicious, crickets come packed with protein, amino acids, calcium and vitamin B12.

And think again if you're under the impression that hot dogs remain the ballpark concession mainstay ... insects are quickly overthrowing them - at least at Seattle's Safeco Field. Ravenous Mariners fans are gobbling up toasted grasshopper tacos and Poquitos unbelievably fast. To the tune of 18,000 during April's three-day home-opener. They're covered in chili-lime salt and, at four bucks a serving, this new menu item is a frequent sellout.

What's next? We can only hope that it's toppings of jalapeno-cricket salsa or chipotle-cricket guacamole with a side of refried mealworms.

Now that would be a whole new ball game.

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