Sure, they look gross, but are toasted grasshoppers any worse of a ballpark food idea than the latest Tower of Deep Fried Meat?
Hardly a day goes by during the baseball season without a major or minor league team offering a new horrifying pile of food as some kind of "epic awesome incredible MeatXplosion" as part of this year's ballpark experience. Already in 2017, we've been gifted with a pulled pork patty melt on a funnel cake (courtesy the Royals), a giant pork chop sandwich that serves four but could probably feed at least twice that (courtesy the Braves) and quite literally a bunch of brisket deep fried and covered in powdered sugar (courtesy the Rangers).
To this list of artery-clogging insanity, we can now add something a little lighter, if not unusual: toasted grasshoppers.
For the low low price of $4, you can grab yourself a big cup of grasshoppers tossed in chili lime salt—a Mexican culinary tradition and staple—at any Mariners home game this year. "They are a one-of-a-kind snack that the fans will really love—either on a taco or on their own," Steve Dominguez, Centerplate general manager at Safeco Field, told ESPN's Darren Rovell. "One of a kind" is being generous; it's safe to say that most MLB and minor league teams probably aren't venturing into the edible insect space (though it would be a good way for Cleveland to reduce its midge population).
But for as gross as it may seem to settle into a seat at Safeco Field cradling a bowl of warm Schistocerca americana, it's worth noting that grasshoppers offer benefits that your average ballpark concession item doesn't. For one, grasshoppers (and most insects) are loaded with protein and low on fat. They're also a very environmentally friendly animal to raise for food, given that they don't require any of the infrastructure that livestock do.
Beyond that, though, kudos to the Mariners for going in a different direction than the rest of baseball. Where most teams are content to slather a gallon of barbecue sauce on an unholy marriage of sugar and beef and label it as "the most wild food you've ever had," Seattle has something uniquely out there. Too much ballpark food nowadays is just some lazy and visually upsetting arrangement of meat and bread, usually in portions that could feed an elementary school class for a week. So here's something actually inspired: Bugs, toasted and salted, for an affordable price and not in a quantity that would make you question the direction that your life has gone.
So if you're at a Mariners game this year, pass on the two-foot-long Cheesesteak from Hell and grab yourself some grasshopper. Your heart and stomach will probably thank you.