Bugging out at Insecta Fiesta

Guests were able to eat several courses of food with bugs in them

SAN ANTONIO – More than 100 countries around the world routinely eat insects as part of their diet. The U.S. is not one of those countries.

On Thursday night, the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in San Antonio hosted a special dinner, Insecta Fiesta, at Blue Star, where insects were the focus of the menu.

“The point of it is to incorporate insects into food and to show people that insects can be a form of food, and they are a form of sustainable agriculture,” said entomologist Molly Keck, who organized the event. “They require less water, less grain and less space to make (and have) more protein than beef, chicken or pork.”

An hors d’oeuvres course consisted of fire ant queso, waxworm guacamole and toasted mealworm salsa.

“I did really good with the queso, but took a little bit of coaxing to do the waxworm guacamole,” Julia Jonas said. “It was, surprisingly enough, not bad. A little crunchy.”

“I wish the fire ant queso had more ant in it. That's about it,” Emily Weiner said. “The waxworms were great. The mealworms were also really good too.”

Keck said the focus of the dinner wasn’t to get people to drop regular sources of protein, but to see the potential of incorporating unique protein sources into their diets. The main course had tortillas with cricket flour added, and the dessert dish had cinnamon and sugar-coated crickets that were raised in Austin.

“While we think it's gross to eat insects, we eat their very close cousins,” Keck said. “We eat shrimp and crab and lobsters and we're totally fine with that, so it's really just a natural next step.”

“I don't think I'm going to run out to the grocery store and start buying them, but like I said, you really don't taste anything as far as bugs,” Mike Jonas said.

Students from Bexar County’s 4-H food challenge teams helped with the dinner preparation and service.