Crunch time: Crisp critters prove hard to swallow

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When she put this particular morsel on a silver tray, it looked like something that could fool folks at a cocktail party. Invite the neighbors over, serve them several drinks, then pass around the bugs with basil and tomatoes.

If the drinks are stiff enough and the neighbors not too attentive, they may never notice. If they do notice, be sure to decline any subsequent invitation to dinner at their house. Revenge can be brutal.

Rating: 1 wing

Bugs on a Cracker

Don't even think about trying dead bugs on a raft, the least favorite cicada hors d'oeuvre. There is nothing delicate about this dish. It looks like something you would find behind the stove after the exterminator visited.

Four stir-fried brown cicada bodies, curled up on a water cracker. Maryland judges could consider this as a form of alternative punishment for criminals - either serve 20 years hard time or eat 20 water crackers topped with cicadas. No blindfolds allowed.

Rating: 1/2 wing

Emergence Cookie

A chocolate-pecan cookie with a cicada popping out of its midsection was scary. The problem was not so much the cicada - by this point in the proceedings we had become accustomed to the formerly bizarre notion of having dead brown insect bodies for lunch - it was the egg wash.

Cooks take note: When you brush the body of a cicada with egg white, sugar it and then bake it, the egg wash settles into cracks in the cicada's body and turns white. This results in a less than attractive finished look, namely white stuff coming out of the insect's body. It takes bug ugly to a new low.

Rating: 1/4 wing
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