As many of you know, I have been a vegetarian for a looong time (ok, pescatarian). I have not eaten meat/chicken/turkey of any kind for over a decade. But, admittedly a few escargot have passed these lips. I remember first tasting snails as a little girl. For some reason, my mom kept a set of large shells in a plastic tube and she would actually prepare escargot once in awhile. The actual snails were sold in a can, and my mom would make the decadent butter, shallot and parsley sauce. After gobbling up the snails, I’d dunk bread in the heavenly butter sauce and sop up every bit. That may be my “madeline” moment from childhood.
Bizarre, I know. But my mom didn’t bake, so I had snails. I really don’t know how snails are categorized (fish, fowl, insect??), apart from being gastropods. Wikipedia calls them gastropod mollusks, so does that put them in the same category as fish? But the snails commonly served as escargot are definitely terrestrial, not maritime. I guess that’s why I haven’t been able to let them go despite the fact that when I think intellectually about what I’m eating, it’s totally gross.
I enjoyed Jeff Gordinier’s tongue in cheek NY Times article entitled, “The Snail Wrangler.” It’s about the elevation of the common snail in today’s restaurant supply chain. It reminded me of my fondness for escargot, despite the obvious contradictions with my usual eating habits.
Please don’t think less of me for divulging this weakness…and feel free to share any of yours.