Crickets in the U.S. are still a taboo food item, even though they're protein-packed and environmentally friendly, use up far less energy to prepare than the meat industry, and are commonly enjoyed in other countries. We view crickets with the same fascination as we do any other "weird" food, but fear of the unfamiliar keeps us from trying it.
To help welcome crickets and other bug cuisine as a future food here, I pulled inspiration from the extreme American jello fad of the 1950s. Part of the hype over encasing everything from cake to sandwiches in jello came from a functional perspective of being able to keep food items for longer, but speculatively, a bigger part of it came from our constant fascination with the new, and jello's glossy, soft, friendly, yet somewhat alien form easily lent itself to becoming an object of intrigue and delight.
Using the characteristics of jello as a vessel for ushering in crickets as a consumable item, I designed a small retro-futuristic sampling of fried crickets encased in colorful agar (vegan-friendly jello made from seaweed) and presented it all on laser-cut plexiglass sample plates. Encasing these crickets in jello makes for a cuisine that displays itself as something foreign and strange, feelings we are already familiar with, yet it highlights our fascination with the unfamiliar, prodding at a delight that comes from trying new things and adjusting one's eyes (or palate) to something one is unaccustomed to.