Eating a bug at DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Arkansas isn’t something that you accidentally do when a gnat flies into your mouth. During the interactive Edible Insects program kids and adults can chomp down on cheese flavored insect larvae – and might find out that they like it!
Let me start by saying, there was no way I was going to eat a bug. Yet I had fun watching other people do it! During a press visit to the beautiful DeGray Lake Resort State Park, we took a scenic boat ride on the water and stopped halfway through for a bug-eating demonstration. This isn’t where the program typically takes place, it’s usually landside at the resort. But when the bucket of bugs came out, at least there was beautiful scenery to enjoy rather than focusing on the insects!
Park Interpreter Jason Parrie is the unbelievably nice, good-natured, and generally all-around-good-guy who seems likeable enough, until he starts cajoling you to eat a bug. While he really would like you to eat an insect, there’s never any hard pressure to do so, if you don’t want to.
The Edible Insects program starts with an educational component. Did you know that you’re eating bugs anyway, whether you know it or not? Yeah, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. It’s all because the FDA allows it.
Processed foods are allowed to have a certain percentage of bug body parts in them without it being against the law. It’s part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Defect Levels Handbook. For instance, peanut butter can have up to 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams. For chocolate, it can be up to 60 or more fragments for the same weight. Don’t even get me started on maraschino cherries. They’re a part of a treasured family Christmas cookie recipe and I’m not about to think of what could be in them, legally.
After being totally disgusted and flabbergasted by this educational intro, then a box of insect snacks comes out. These are crispy little snacks in boxes that you can buy online, not live insects.
Parrie will do his best to entice you to try the crunchy snacks. He puts an insect snack on his tongue and happily poses for pictures. He’ll tempt you with buttons. He will try to get you out of your comfort zone. It’s all entertaining, fun and informative. I still wanted no part of it, though!
This is just one of the many varied programs at DeGray Lake State Park, a truly beautiful resort on a gorgeous lake that is definitely a great vacation spot in Arkansas. I enjoyed my time there, even if there were bug appetizers.
Tell us what you think – would you eat a bug? Have you – and what did it taste like?!?