Get Your Palate Ready For…. Insects!

Insects are rising on the food chain just like the bile in your throat at the thought of eating them. Everyone from the weird guy at your office to the contestants on Naked and Afraid are recommending insects as important sources of protein and other nutrients. There’s no better time than this summer, when insects are plentiful and as annoying as shit, to try this recipe for Maryland Insect Gumbo that will be sure to please as the main course at your next gathering.

Yield: 8 servings


  1. Collect 4 pounds of large crickets, grasshoppers and beetles. This is done best at dawn before the summer sun makes the little buggers active. It’s recommended to use zipper-lock plastic bags to keep your insects secure. Remind yourself that insects have a nice, nutty, chicken-like flavor
  2. After an hour, give up on trying to decide if your insects are ‘large enough’ and just scoop as many as you can into your bags without gagging
  3. Have a plausible explanation when local police stop to ask why you’re lurking around in tall grass, bushes and trees. See if they know that insects are gluten-free and high in protein, iron and zinc
  4. Four pounds of insects is a lot and should weigh about the same as the six-pack of beer you’re going to need to pick up on your way home
  5. Once home, put your insects on your counter and remind yourself that insects are a nutritious and sustainable alternative to meat. If needed, vomit into the trash receptacle and drink two beers
  6. In an 8-quart pot, bring ½ cup Old Bay® Seasoning, 2 tablespoons salt and 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add one 12-ounce beer to mix, optional. Drink it yourself, instead, while wondering why you didn’t just make crab cakes
  7. Add eight red potatoes, quartered and two large sweet onions, cut in wedges; cook over high heat for 8 minutes while considering that two billion people worldwide eat insects regularly. Drink another beer
  8. Add two pounds lean smoked sausage, cut in 2-inch lengths, to potatoes and onions.

Notice that several bags have opened and insects are everywhere. Use flyswatter for five minutes to stun escaping insects while contemplating that there are over 1900 edible insect species on the planet. Most of them now in your kitchen. 

  1. Add eight ears fresh corn, broken in half, to pot; continue to boil for 7 minutes while frantically spraying remaining insects with insect repellent, being careful not to get the spray in the stew, your eyes or the open gas flame on your stovetop
  2. Add remaining insects to mix as best you can while calling the Fire Department. Open bottle of Sagamore Rye bourbon. Drink deeply while removing yourself from house
  3. When Fire Department has extinguished fire, drain cooking liquid and remainder of bourbon. Pour contents of pot into several large bowls, shallow pails or your garbage receptacle. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay®, if desired, while realizing that the Food and Drug Administration allows ‘food defects’ of one or more whole insects per each ¼ cup of cornmeal. Bon appétit!

Nancy Franklin writes about life’s absurdities wherever and whenever she finds them. She has been published in The Daily Drunk Magazine, Slackjaw, The Belladonna, Points In Case and Little Old Lady Comedy. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter, @mirthquakes_.

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