COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — The collective sound of thousands of cicadas served as the dinner bell at Oregon Ridge Park, and the chef today is naturalist Michael Eversmier.
“So over here we have some cicada nymphs that I went out last night and got. They molted out of their shell,” explained Eversmier as he set up his cooking operation on a picnic table outside the Nature Center.
Our chef equates them to soft shell crabs, and in this case the fully-developed insect is past its prime.
“This is not typically what people eat, because they’d be crunchy and you’d have to pull off the wings and legs,” he said as an adult cicada crawled up his arm.
While the sight of movement in the raw nymph pile may do little to work up an appetite, our chef uses plenty of seasonings, corn meal, eggs and hot oil to produce a fried delight that would fit in nicely at any state fair.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski served as the first taste tester or victim depending on your perspective.
“Once I realized that it was a great chance to highlight the great educational work that going on out here at Oregon Ridge around this once-every-17-year phenomenon, I was all in,” said Olszewski after down a few molted morsels.
And the funny thing is, once some have dared to try eating such insects, they try really hard to get others to follow.
“Embrace it,” the county executive implored us. “It’s a Maryland thing. It’s a rare occurrence and it wasn’t bad. The cookies were delicious.”
Ground cicada...also for dessert.