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Eats and Beats: Young Chefs Cook Bugs for "Dirt to Table" Banquet

Justin Regan

Some kids at a summer camp in Flagstaff are learning how to cook with a special type of protein. It’s locally sourced, free range and has six legs. It’s bug camp. The kids spend a week learning all about insects and on the final day, create a unique bug banquet. In the latest installment of KNAU’s series Eats and Beats: stories about food and music, we hear about the menu. Everything from sautéed grasshoppers to worm pesto and candied crickets. 

The pan looks like it is about to be done. And the grasshoppers are now bright red like crayfish. Which means they are done so we are about to be putting them in the tortillas.

Hello my name is Owen. I never tried bugs before I’m kind of excited. I know a lot of other countries in the world eat bugs. And this country is one of the countries that doesn’t eat very many bugs. So I decided to try some.

I think it looks appetizing. I’ve never eaten them before. But it looks better then when I snatched them right out of the grass. They weren’t that appetizing because they spit on you as a defense mechanism. And they’re like ‘why would you ever eat that?’ But now it looks like they’re red, they’re cooked, they’re appetizing.

Credit Justin Regan
Credit Justin Regan

My name is Sophia. We have been cooking grasshoppers, and other people have been making chocolate crickets. I like the chocolate crickets. They taste good. The cricket heads. Those look good. I’ve tasted the cricket heads. I like the cricket heads.

They really just taste like nothing. That’s why I like them. They just taste like chocolate. Because it’s the chocolate crickets. It’s really nice. It looks pretty cool to do and I might want to do it with my mom sometime.

Hello my name is Henry.

We’re cooking mealworm pesto. Mealworms are usually the first stage of insects or bugs. And it’s kind of interesting because they start as this little worm thing all the way to like a huge like beetle or something like that. They’re pretty crunchy. Because, you know, they have an exoskeleton. And if they don’t have anything on them they’re kind of bland.

Some bugs are really nutritious. And you should try them. And if you don’t like them it’s okay. But you should still try them because if you say they’re gross even if you haven’t tried them. Like that’s just guessing. You should just at least try.

I have some fried grasshoppers with taco seasoning in a taco shell, which sounds pretty yummy. And then cinnamon covered mealworms. Mealworm pesto and chocolate covered crickets.

Credit Justin Regan

My favorite thing was the chocolate covered crickets. Because I mean I like chocolate. It covers the cricket a lot. So I like chocolate and you can taste the cricket and the cricket tastes good too.

That was Owen, Sophia and Henry at Northern Arizona University’s summer bug camp. This installment of eats and beats was produced by KNAU’s Justin Regan, who also enjoyed the chocolate crickets. 

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