MEXICO: It is very common in many parts of Mexico to eat, well, bugs. Really! Evidently, Mexico is the country with the greatest variety of edible insects: 549 species. Some insects (like chapulines) are eaten fried but plain, while others (like scorpions)–as one of my colleagues experienced–can be mixed in with guacamole, mole, or other sauces.
“CHICATANAS (giant winged ants): When the first rains of the season hit Oaxaca, ants with coin-size wing spans spin into the air to escape their flooded nests and to search for food. Snatching at them are the hands of locals seizing their next snack. Chicatanas only come out one night a year, so families come together with a sense of urgency and excitement; kids make a game of seeing who can collect the most (and avoid getting bitten).”Source
En lieu of traveling abroad with my second graders, I buy a few boxes of fried crickets locally or on Amazon, and students have the opportunity–read: option–to taste them in class after we talk about the history and how everyone around the world eats and enjoys all different foods. To provide examples of this fact, we compared school lunches from a variety of countries (scroll down to slideshow on link).
To entice younger students to participate, there are even fun cricket flavors to whet their appetites, such as: Bacon & Cheese, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion. This jumpstarts a unit on courage and stepping outside of your comfort zone in my classroom (soy valiente/ I am courageous).
BACKSTORY: I stumbled onto all of this a number of years ago after hearing the song, Un mes by the Colombian singer Mara, in a Zumba class. The lyrics referenced a “chapulín colorado”, and I wanted to know what that was. While the words literally mean, “red grasshopper” (which led to pics of bugs; see above), El Chapulín Colorado was also a Mexican television comedy show from the 1970’s that parodied superheroes. Clearly, there is room for this unit to go in many different directions!