We got an e-mail from an old friend the other day. The gist of the memo was this: invest now and retire in style. He advised me to start a cottage industry in my own backyard.

And I’ll admit, I did stop and think about it — for about 30 seconds.

Picture this: you get up in the morning and go to your cold-storage locker and yank open the steel door.

You get the expected burst of snowy frost — along with a moist, overpowering, aroma of juicy creepy-crawlies — in other words, a musky bouquet of bugs — a freezer holding 10 tons of boiled and freeze-dried giant water bugs, dung beetles, grasshoppers and a fine assortment of succulent worms.

You quickly could become the king bee of an estimated $50 million-a-year edible insect industry.

And you don’t even have to deliver. You only have to hang out your shingle with the slogan: Come and get ‘em.

Bugs are the hot, new gastronomic item in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and other Southeast Asia and Middle Eastern nations. Several East African countries have been exploiting the plentiful supply of six-legged creatures for centuries.

I’ve heard the trend of eating bugs has even caught on in California, where avant-garde gourmet restaurants are buzzing with an assortment of exoskeleton treats. “They have rich texture, and the flavors are like nothing you’ve ever tasted,” reported one Hollywood diner on a recent talk show.






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