A Culinary Adventure at BugFest

Traditions are great for families. Anna loves them – just ask Debbie how many years we’ve been making waffle cakes for her birthday. Going to BugFest in Downtown Raleigh started for us about 6 or 7 years ago, and it has become an annual event for Anna and me.

Never heard of BugFest? It’s put on by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and sponsored by a number of companies including Whole Foods, Chick Fil A, Bruggers Bagels and of course, Terminix. It’s a one day event that celebrates all things about bugs.

You can learn about bee keeping, play with a Madagascar cockroach, or the little kids can pretend to be a dung beetle and roll around a large ball that represents what this small insect normally does on a daily basis. Live bands perform throughout the day, providing just the right measure of music for a fun day outdoors.

Visit their website at www.Wheels4Hope.org

One of my favorite bugs was actually a blast from my past – a 1968 VW Beetle. This was my first car. It was on display and for sale, by WheelsForHope.org. This local, faith-based organization accepts donated vehicles, reconditions them, and then gives them to individuals in the community that are on their way to getting back on their feet, but need a little help with transportation. I didn’t drive away in this bug, but enjoyed talking with Dick, one of the volunteers, and traveling back in time for a few moments.

And of course there were plenty of food vendors serving up the requisite festival food including ribbon fries, chocolate dipped cheesecake, and fresh squeezed lemonade. But one of the most interesting food venues, was the Café Insectica. That’s right, it’s your chance to sample a variety of cuisine made with, you guessed it – bugs.

If you’ve never eaten a bug, it’s actually not as far out there as you might think. There are bugs that are edible and some that are not. All these edible creatures were cleaned and cooked – no chasing anything off your plate. Meal worms and crickets seemed to be the most popular addition. We sample most everything, from chocolate ice cream pops, to quesadillas, hushpuppies, bread pudding, corn bread, and of course – cookies with crickets. The line was long and stretched around the building, so we were not the only ones up for a little culinary adventure.

Zack Lemann, an entomologist from the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, baked up a big batch of cookies with crickets. He was very enthusiastic about his confectionery creations, so I asked a few of the younger patrons what they thought. Several of those I spoke with, thought that eating crickets in cookies was probably okay. And, since we were on an adventure outside the oven, we gave them a taste as well.

While they were not ‘disgusting’, and variety is the spice of life, Anna (our Official Taste Tester) and I both agreed that the recipes at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies will stay as they are now with NO plans to add crickets or any other crawling creatures to our cookies. It’s great to have some fun and get outside the oven, but you can be certain that’s exactly where we’ll leave the bugs – outside.

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