My pal Joseph Yoon is pretty cool. His mission is to raise appreciation and awareness for edible insects through delicious, educational, and creative programming. His work has been featured on the Smithsonian Channel, New York Times, NPR, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Forbes, as he and his colleagues help explain why the United Nations endorses edible insects to address food security and sustainability. He strives to introduce edible insects and normalize them in America as a sustainable source of protein with broad applications that can be found in your pantry, eaten as a snack, and beautifully plated by chefs. A couple years back, I had Joseph on the program to talk about how he goes about his mission. It’s impressive to say the least. We also discussed an event he was part of here at the University of Wisconsin, where I got to be a part of an incredible spread of deliciousness. This time around, we did remind folks of the mission but we mostly wrapped our heads around Brood X. Brood X, otherwise known as the great cicada hatching of 2021, is starting to happen now as soil temperatures in some parts of America move closer to 64F which is the trigger, according to scientists, for trillions of the insects to push up to the surface and into the world to mate. It is an absolutely amazing 17-year-life cycle for the heaps of bugs, who form different broods emerging at different times- all after remaining underground for almost their entire lives before briefly emerging to mate and then die. Brood X is the group of cicadas that spread over tracts of the north-east of the US, including New York & Washington, as well as parts of the Midwest & West Virginia. And… there is so much more to the entire story.
Joseph and I get deep into the entire Cicada scene as part of this amazing Brood X happening. We get into the hunt, the love and respect of the living beings and the ways to prepare and enjoy this nutritious and amazing insect. To Joseph, this is way more than just a cool thing to do (which there is no argument from me that it truly is way cool), this is something that is going on globally for so many right reasons and how do we turn the page in places that still see the “bugs” as mere pests. One of the many things I dig about Joseph is how the whole thing for him has such an artistic twist to it, from the selections of foods, to the accompanying additions of an meal , to the beings themselves and how they live their lives. You can hear the love of the creatures, the love of what Joseph is doing – just listen to him talk about all the possibilities with each part to the cicada’s lifecycle. This is a guy with the passion I think we need! For me, I was super excited to touch on the “chorus” of cicadas during our conversation as well and when you grab an earful, you’ll hear what cool thing he and Grammy nominated saxophonist Jay Rodriguez are up to.