Paul Farrington emailed me with a question about the HOTLIX Insect Candy Company
: "The site looks real, the products look real, there are no obvious giveaways except the sheer unbelievable grotesqueness of the very concept! What’s your take?"
Well, my take is that the insect candy is definitely real, though I've never ordered any of it and submitted it to an entomologist for confirmation. (Nor do I plan to.) But there's no reason to believe the candy wouldn't be real. After all, insects are eaten in many cultures. It's only Westerners who are squeamish about eating them. A recent article
in the Smithsonian's Zoogoer magazine discusses insects as food, pointing out that honey is nothing more than "bee vomit," and even notes the existence of the HOTLIX Insect Candy Company:
Although people worldwide have been enjoying edible insects since ancient times, their value—in terms of both nutrition and conservation—is often overlooked by the modern Western world...
An estimated 2,000 insect species are consumed around the world, and people do not just eat insects, they relish them as delicacies. In Africa, caterpillars and winged termites are fried and eaten as roadside snacks (after wings, legs, and bristles are removed, of course), and often considered tastier than meat. Grasshoppers and bee larvae seasoned with soy sauce are favorites in Japan, where pricey canned insects are also available. Papua New Guinea is known for its nutty-flavored sago grubs (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus papuanus or R. bilineatus), beetle larvae that inhabit dead sago palm trees and are honored at annual festivals...
Specialty food shops in Europe have started to sell insects imported from Africa. Even a U.S. company, Hotlix, sells various lollipops with embedded insects, chocolate-covered cockroaches, grubs, slugs, and grasshoppers, and mealworms in barbeque, cheddar cheese, and Mexican flavors.