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News Tue May 29 2007

The Other Red Eye Diet

We've been bracing for the cicada invasion for over a week now; the Sun Times published a prediction that May 22nd would be the big day earlier in the month. I think most of the little red-eyed creatures were stymied by the chilly weather we had last week, and are late to hit the city streets. But they are beginning to emerge in the suburbs. My son brought one home from school today. He got it from a friend who'd come to school with a take-out container full of cicadas he'd found in his uncle's backyard.

Meanwhile, other Chicagoans are boiling water, preheating ovens and sharpening skewers in preperation for a cicada feast. The Reader's and our David Hammond joined Marilyn Pocius, authur of "A Cook's Guide to Chicago," on ABC News recently to talk about cooking and eating cicadas. Pocius's book includes recipes for dishes like Cicada-bobs, Cicada Tempura and martinis garnished with fried cicadas on toothpicks rather than olives. Hammond, meanwhile, has posted on The Food Chain about how the cicada's taste is reminiscent of peanut butter, so he put his on a celery stick with a dollop of blueberry preserves. He's going to be on Chicago Tonight tonight, offering cicada-cooking tips to those with strong stomachs. See also his feature describing the media frenzy over his cicada cookery.

If the dishes look good, at LTHforum, people are tossing around the idea of getting together for a cicada-thon. As for myself, I'm going to make sure our pet cicada has enough air in his new home.


Sharon Woodhouse / June 1, 2007 5:07 PM

Hello. Thanks for mentioning our book, A Cook's Guide to Chicago. Marilyn's cicada dinner party on ABC News was awesome and disgusting, but unfortunately the cicada recipes are not in her book. No reliable supplier for such a rare, tasty item in the area! :)

Marilyn Pocius / June 12, 2007 3:22 PM

Sharon (my publisher) is right. No recipes for cicadas in the existing book. But I will post some recipes on my site for those who are still thrilling to our once-every-17-year event.

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