Tobias Padovano's limited time only special at Cocina on Market in Leesburg, Virginia, features sauteed cicadas topped with serrano chile, avocado and radish in a mole verde sauce, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. It could take another 17 years before cicada tacos show up on the menu again. The cicadas now emerging for a noisy round of mating spent most of their life underground sucking sap from tree roots for nourishment. Cicadas are “a great source of protein” that taste like shrimp, according to some aficionados.
Class discussion: Would you line up for a big plate full of cicada tacos? Why or why not? Do you ever try unusual foods? Have you ever eaten frog’s legs or escargot snails? What is the most exotic dish you have ever tried? Did you like it? Would you ever eat insects – even if they are “a great source of protein?” Have you heard the loud buzzing of the cicadas now coming out after 17 years under the ground? How is this generation of cicadas providing a big banquet for predators?
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