I ate my first cricket on a hot summer's day in 2014. Part of a "taste the world" food court, it was slightly salty, very crunchy, and coated in chocolate. I found the texture off-putting and forced it down with some water, gave the vendor a polite smile, and walked away confident that would be the last time I'd indulge in an insect.
Little did I know that at the time, a quiet bug revolution was starting to brew in the Western world. Over the last few years, "insect farms" opened across America, bug-eating festivals enticed curious young eaters, and The Insect Cookbook hit shelves. The Economist sent out food trucks loaded with mealworm-covered waffles and ice cream, and experimental restaurants worldwide added tiny critters to menus. Bugs have become an ingredient in everything from chips to energy bars, and Whole30 founder Melissa Hartwig even told mindbodygreen that she fuels up with Chapul Cricket protein shakes on gym day. "I don’t eat whey, soy, or plant protein, and the Chapul stuff is low-sugar and protein dense (and yes, it tastes great—you’d never know you were eating bugs)," admitted the wellness it-girl. It all raises the buggy question: Are insects poised to become a go-to protein source?