June 24, 2008 - "Bug Cafe"

From butterflies to beetles, it's a world of bugs at new Orleans' Insectarium. But in one room of the "Bug Museum" I found entomologist Anne Barker doing the unexpected. "So I'm just going to put some crickets here in my pan with a little bit of oil," she says, "and then I've got some good old fashioned Tony Chachere's."

This is the Bug Appetite Cafe where-- Well, let Anne explain the menu. "Right here I've got red beans and yikes, and I've also got crispy Cajun crickets right here and some wax worm soup."

They expect you to eat bugs!

One woman exclaims, "I will not try it. I will not try it! I am not a bug eater."

Nearby a woman holds an infant. He wants no part of it either. Wait--he like's it! At least he's eating a cricket. Or maybe not. The look on the baby's face turns grim. Then again...well, he takes a cricket from Mom and willingly eats it. This love-hate attitude on bug eating can't be blamed on the child's age. Watching people of all ages eat bugs can be more fun than watching the bugs themselves in the museum. Some people just dive right in. Others need to be coaxed. All appear to be worried. What's this thing going to taste like? Then they're perplexed. Did I really eat that thing? Did I like it?

Anne explains, "That's what we're doing here, is to help people get over that hurdle, thinking that bugs are just gross. Actually eating insects is very accepted in most countries, so we're trying to bring a little of that to the United States as well."

Then the moment of truth. Anne hands me a spoonful of crispy Cajun crickets. "James," I ask 9-News photographer James deGraauw, "you want to try one?" James--who has faced fire, flood and hurricanes--refuses. He's yellow. I have no friends at all. Put a cricket in a guy's hand, and he loses all of his friends. Stalwart to the finish, I gobble down the fried bugs.

No matter what they tell you, tastes like -- crickets!

What they tell you is that fried crickets taste like sunflower seeds. You be the judge--if you're brave enough! It could be considered a taste of home. The "entrees" come from Fluker's Cricket Farm in Port Allen.