When you think about going to a baseball game, a few images probably come to mind. Sunny days, expensive hot dogs, even more expensive beers, and grasshopper tacos. Wait, what?
You may have heard about a food vendor at Seattle’s Safeco Field who started selling grasshopper tacos at Mariners games. Contrary to what you might suppose, the tacos were a huge hit. They would typically sell out way before the midpoint of the game, with a huge line forming to buy them.
Now, the concept has legs. Six of them.
The Atlanta Hawks have now added cricket tacos to their concessions as well. One cricket eater, interviewed by Philadelphia’s CBS Local, remarked that they taste “savory like sunflower seeds and crispy like chips.”
The tacos definitely don’t look gross. And apparently, they don’t taste gross, either. People have been eating insects for literally our entire history as a species, so putting them in tacos is really not as bizarre as it sounds.
It is pretty strange, though, to imagine eating insects at a basketball game. As tasty as they may be, and as much logical sense as it makes to eat insects, there’s still a squick factor that will probably bar it from becoming a mainstream phenomenon.
Insects are actually a major source of protein around the world. Many cultures do not share the American taboo on eating bugs. Indeed, even in other parts of the West, there is less stigma about eating our invertebrate friends. See escargot.
Which begs the comparison – is eating bugs actually grosser than eating shellfish? What is a lobster, but a very large underwater roach? And you don’t see people gagging when you put them on a roll.
Philips Arena will be offering cricket tacos, with the crickets being provided by a Texas-based company called “Aketta.” Insofar as we know, the Hawks are the first NBA team to ever attempt such a thing. If you want to taste them, you’ll only have to hand over $12 for three tacos.
If you want to forego the tacos, you’ll also be able to buy a small packet of the crickets to eat like peanuts. $4.50 will get you a packet of crickets in either Texas BBQ or Sweet and Spicy Cajun flavor.
Vincent Vitale, the head of marketing and business development for Aketta, said, “We’re thrilled to have our products featured in Philips Arena. We hope to get our crickets into other sports venues around the country.”
Yeah, our fingers are, uh, crossed.