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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Snails A.k.a. Escargots

Mon Dieu! The French will be experiencing a shortage of escargots!

I've never had any desire to eat escargots. It could stem from the fact that as a child I had a fish tank and some snails came in on one of the aquatic plants and next thing I knew, I had a snail explosion. Yuck! Of course land snails are completely different I'm sure, but still...

I love this quote about escargots:
The attraction remains a mystery to much of the rest of the planet. The sauce served with the snails – made from garlic, parsley and butter – is delicious, but to the uninitiated, the escargot itself tastes like a tired piece of chewing-gum.

If you want to read up on cooking escargot, borrow Jacque Pepin's Complete Techniques: More Than 1,000 Preparations and Recipes, All Demonstrated in Thousands of Step-by-Step Photographs [641.5 PEP]. The photos are helpful, but this little warning was a bit much! (The emphasis is mine.)
Fresh snails are starved for at least 48 hours, in case they have eaten herbs which may be toxic to people. They are then soaked in a mixture of water, salt, vinegar and flour and allowed to disgorge for one hour.

Eeeeuu! All in all, I find snails a lovely subject for picture books. C'est tout!

Look for these:

Cutler, Jane. Mr. Carey's Garden. [JP CUT] All of his neighbors have suggestions for how to get rid of the snails in his garden, but Mr. Carey isn't interested.

Dorros, Arthur. When the Pigs Took Over. [JP DOR] Don Carlos likes to do everything in a big way, but his idea to serve lots of snails in his restaurant nearly destroys the whole village.

McGuirk, Leslie. Snail Boy. [JP MCG] A snail the size of a pony, afraid that he will wind up in a circus, or worse, sets out to become someone's pet.

Rosoff, Meg. Jumpy Jack & Googily. [JP ROS] Jumpy Jack the snail is terrified that there are monsters around every corner despite the reassurances of his best friend, Googily.

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