I’ve eaten rattlesnake in Arizona, alligator in Mississippi, buffalo, moose, caribou, whale, and bear in Alaska, frog’s legs, sheep’s brains, kidneys, liver and and hearts of all sorts in Ireland but I’d never eaten snail. I’ve had duck’s tongue and chicken’s feet and have even eaten a fly or two, but more by accident than design. I’ve eaten shellfish so it wasn’t the forcible eviction that was bothering me. It was that I’d seen too many of them crawling up walls and slithering their slimy way across a footpath. I simply could not imagine myself eating one. But when in Malta…
Getting them out of the shell was a little problematic. The tines of the fork were too big so I had to resort to using a toothpick (thank you, Charles Forster). That quiet, wrenching sound they made as the shell finally ceded way was a little disturbing but I soon got used to it. When I first ate frog’s legs, I was rather taken aback to see that they actually looked like frog’s legs (and some people think I’m intelligent!) The same with snails. I wasn’t thinking snails – I was thinking escargot. As if poshing up the name could change the substance (Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest comes to mind). A little like the metamorphosis that leeks and potatoes undergo when they’re renamed vichyssoise.
Ever wondered how some foods got their name? Check this site out. Beef Stroganoff was the prize-winning recipe created for a cooking competition held in the 1890s in St. Petersburg, Russia. The chef who devised the recipe worked for the Russian diplomat Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, a member of one of Russia’s grandest noble families.
Anyway, I digress. Suffice to say that I can now cross snails off my bucket list and doubt very much that I’ll ever feel the need to eat them again.