The centuries-old tradition of catching, preparing and eating chapulines is detailed in a visually stunning ESPN feature.
They sold more than 18,000 orders during the first series of the season last year. They’ve been featured on countless Intagram posts and Snapchat stories. It’s practically become tradition for opposing players and media to consume them when they come to town.
How those four-ounce cups of crispy, lime and chili-dusted viral hits arrive at Safeco Field goes further back than any marketing meeting. The tradition of catching, preparing and eating grasshoppers — or “chapulines” as they’re called in their native Oaxaca, Mexico — dates back to the Aztec Empire.
Farmers wait until twilight, when the grasshoppers slow their heart rate, making them easier to trap with their bare hands. The chipulines are then transferred to an FDA-approved factory, where they are disinfected, boiled and toasted and the seasonings are prepared. From there, they’re in the hands of Seattle chef Matthew Arce, who originally pitched the dish to the Safeco Field food vendor, Centerplate. A little extra toasting, an infusion of chili-lime seasoning and they’re ready to be your seventh-inning snack.
The path, from Spanish conquistadors to the modern harvesting equipment they use today, is chronicled in this visually stunning piece from ESPN.