We've talked before about the realities of bug-eating, but our tone has always been light, joking. This week's New Yorker, though, is taking a very serious look at the practice. They were, according to Dana Goodyear, "among the original specialty foods in the American gourmet marketplace." And, Goodyear continues, "Insects — part delicacy, part gag — are chic again."
Don't believe her? Well, how else to explain the fact that they were featured on this season of Top Chef Masters? Or that Rivera, in Los Angeles, serves a cocktail made with "housemade grasshopper salt"? (They're not the only ones serving the so-called "Beetle juice.")
But, really? Bugs? We've had our share of grasshopper tacos, but we can't say it's a trend we've seen exploding onto the scene. Even still, Goodyear theorizes that the rise in popularity (no matter how tiny) is due to several factors:
The current vogue reflects not only the American obsession with novelty and the upper-middle-class hunger for authenticity but also deep anxiety about the meat we already eat—which is its own kind of fashion.
The story does point out that one of the country's first gourmet bug producers — Reese Finer Foods — was also known for its "tinned tiger and elephant meat," and it does sound like lion meat could be coming back into vogue. So you never know.
Related: There Is Some Bug Eating in Your (Immediate) Future