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NOTE: This blog was published on in October 2017. I did eat the bugs. When my coworkers ignored this story and failed to promote it on the homepage, I didn't forgive them.

I ate this bug for journalism. At the State Fair, you can eat one, too.

I ate this bug for journalism. At the State Fair, you can eat one, too.

By Dave Thomas

At one time, it crawled. It flew. It molted and it buzzed. Then I ate it. You can, too, at the State Fair of Texas this weekend.

If you’re headed that way for the Texas-OU game, and want something even more adventurous than the funnel cake bacon queso burger, Torrey Morgan and his Richardson-based company Meat Maniac will be at Coliseum Marketplace Booth #74.

Meat Maniac sells edible insects — from green apple ant candy to salted zebra tarantulas. As a serious journalist, I knew I had to eat a bug for this story. I scrutinized the website,, carefully.

Morgan would tell me in an email interview that he considers worms to be the “gateway bug” and that sago worms were the first insects he ever tried.

“Worms have less of an exoskeleton and a little more fat content which in my opinion makes them great for first-timers eating insects,” Morgan said. “Many of them taste like corn chips or sunflower seeds and texture-wise are a bit crunchy. My favorite are the sago worms and silkworm pupae.”

To be honest, though, anything without legs turned my stomach just thinking about it. What else? Cricket flour? That’s taking the easy way out. It had to be recognizable as a bug. And for some reason the cicada sounded, well, not appetizing, but safe.

Though Morgan says he’s tried all of the edible insects he sells, he does understand playing favorites. “My least-favorite edible insect was the male rhino beetle,” he said. “The taste wasn’t that bad but it had a very earthy flavor and the texture was awful. Trying to wrap your mind around the fact that you’re about to put this thing in your mouth when your first instinct would be to step on it ...”

As I stood there in the garage, six-legged friend in hand, I was a man out of place and ahead of his time. It only takes a quick look at Wikipedia to note that insects from your yard, from your nightmares and ones you never knew existed are eaten in 80% of the world’s countries.

And then there’s the science articles, which let you know that your children — or certainly their children — will ultimately be worldly entomophagists, too.

UN report in 2013 predicted a world hit by environmental pollution and overpopulation “will need 70% more food, as measured by calories, to feed a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050.” How do we get there? It won’t be burgers and bacon.

A follow-up Food and Agriculture Organization report, provides you with all the data you can stomach on entomophagy. And Austin is even home to Little Herds, a nonprofit promoting edible insects led by Robert Nathan Allen.

But there in my garage, all the data talking about how healthy insects were — how they were wee reservoirs of protein, iron, calcium and amino acids — was lost in the sightless stare of 16 beady little eyes in my tin of eight dehydrated and roasted cicadas.

Maybe I should have gone with the “cheese bug kebab.”

I never watched those reality TV shows where the contestants had to eat bugs because I firmly believe that puking is not entertainment. Nor am I going to watch a wilderness enthusiast talk around mouthfuls of grubs.

But I signed up for this. With a cup of water in the other hand ...

Hey the Meat Maniac website sells novelties, too! “Here in Texas, no bedroom is complete without the beef jerky scented candle,” Morgan said, playing the straight man to my joke about aphrodisiacs. “Although it usually backfires. We call it the candle of false hope.”

If it doesn’t, there’s whiskey-flavored sex lube. Just saying. And bacon-flavored dental floss, gravy-flavored candy canes, even a ghost pepper-flavored gummy, if you know any children you don’t like.

... Yes, I was procrastinating. I finally got to it.

I tried the first cicada in two bites. And washed each bite down with a pint of water. A little later, shamed by my delicate nibbles, I ate a whole one. And drank. And swished and spat. And fought the urge to gag. I tossed a third to the dog. She seemed to think it was great.

How was it? It was dry. And crunchy. With an unnatural taste, like reaching into a bag of chips and blindly popping something into your mouth that you realize much too late shouldn’t have been there.

Very dry. Very crunchy. Maybe I should have rehydrated it. Maybe I should have prepared it in some culinary way.

Or maybe I’m done with cicadas.

I’ve got five left. That’s 30 little legs, give or take a few that fell off here and there. That’s plenty for the next dinner party.

Maybe I’ll try the june bugs next.

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