Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce, Insect Entrées Don't Upset Us!

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

If you are old enough, you may remember the old 1970s Burger King commercial in which a lovely young counter worker sang, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way.”


Of course, in 21st-century America, the prevailing doctrine is more like a sign hanging above the bar at a place I used to frequent during my bachelor days: “This ain’t Burger King. You’ll get it MY way or you won’t get the son-of-a-b***h at all.”

The place was a fun kind of quasi-dive bar/biker joint, and I was friends with the family. They had a unique sense of humor, and the sign was good for a laugh. For all I know, it’s still up there. If the owner reads this, I’d love to have that sign if you’re planning to remodel.

In America, we are not quite at the point in which we will eat ze bugs or not “get the son-of-a-b***h at all.” Yet. In a similar vein by which EVs have pitched to us as being something all of the enlightened people drive, our political, cultural, and social overlords are slowly moving the Overton Insect Window to make eating bugs not only feasible and acceptable but preferable to a diet that reflects human tastes as opposed to those of a praying mantis.

At some point, the New York Strip is destined to go the way of the internal combustion engine. For now, it is more of a gentle nudge. All of the hip, smart people are doing it, so when are you going to join everyone at the cool kids’ table with a heaping plate of insects?

Tiffany Leigh is the latest writer to jump on the multiple-legged menu bandwagon with a piece at Insider called “Crickets are a great source of protein, so I started adding them to my baby’s food — and she loves them.” Not only are crickets delish and practically indistinguishable from real food, but they are also a great way to cut down on your grocery bill.


For that matter, they can be added to a dish (much like tofu) or, and here, Leigh quotes Venus Kalami, a board-certified pediatric dietitian, and nutritionist at Solid Starts, “Once baby has their pincer grasp, cricket and other edible insects may be served whole as finger food.” Kalami also notes that crickets have plenty of protein and vitamins. So far, Leigh has added cricket powder to pancakes and mac and cheese and enjoys cricket cheese puffs (seriously), and of course, whole crickets.

For some reason, I keep flashing back to the “shrimp scene” from Forest Gump. Except with crickets:

Cricket hash, cricket gumbo, cricket casserole, fried crickets, baked crickets, cricket soufflé, cricket cake, cricket sundaes, cricket burgers, cricket pot roast, cricket sauce, cricket nachos, cricket flambé, poached crickets, crickets over-easy.

You get the picture.

Leigh plans to add ants, grasshoppers, and worms to the family menu. And if that doesn’t work, she can always open a bait shop.

Look, outside of human flesh, I’m a firm believer in people eating what they want. And that includes eating or not eating arthropods and insects if one chooses. I tried to eat bugs once. I ate a few fried crickets in Cambodia but balked at whole fried tarantulas. To be fair, my tarantula had not been thoroughly cooked and was still moving, but still. And let’s be honest, even in cultures in which bugs are consumed, people have the option of eating other things, including meat. But mark my words, the day will come when you will eat ze bugs no matter your tastes, as the idea moves from fad to fashion to mandate.


It isn’t the concept of eating bugs that is so offensive, but rather the fact that the elite will still be enjoying Waygu steaks while forcing us to try and paste smiles on our faces as we slide cricket burgers onto the grill during the family barbecue, provided of course, that families as we know them still exist. You will have it their way or you won’t get the son-of-a-b***h at all.

It’s not the bugs that bother me. It’s the arrogance.


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