Cicada Ice Cream: Crunchy, Delicious, and Banned


Apparently cicadas taste like peanuts. Which make them excellent candidates to be boiled, coated with brown sugar and milk chocolate and then mixed into brown sugar and butter ice cream. Garnish with wings and serve.

Cicadas only hatch every 13 years, and when they arrive they make an impressive racket. The folks at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri, whipped up an experimental half-batch of cicada ice cream to celebrate the onslaught. Perhaps surprisingly, the novelty flavor turned out to be wildly popular and sold out quickly.

But before Sparky's employees could run home to collect more of the crunchy ice cream filler from their backyards for another batch, someone thought to check in with the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. Which promptly squashed the venture:

"The food code doesn't directly address cicadas," [Gerry Worley, environmental health manager for the department] said. "We advised against it."

No one had any reason to think it was unsafe to eat the bugs. In fact, they're quite edible. But if it's not permitted, it must be prohibited, right?