The History of Food: Escargot

Escargots_1

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ewwwww… escargot. These creatures are a treat for the French, but we think of it as being disgusting. These are snails that have gone through heliculture and have been stuffed back into their shells with garnishes.

Years ago, in ancient Rome, people regarded escargot as a dish fit for emperors and it was an elite food. Archaeological digs have found snail shells all throughout the Mediterranean area. In the writings of Pliny, snails were described as comfort food and they were a delicacy.

The process of farming and purging snails of anything that is not fit for eating is called heliciculture. Before consumption, the snails are purged of any undesirable foods by either starving them or feeding them wholesome foods. Many people do this for a living.

Escargot is a particularly interesting dish in the fact that it is taken out of the shell, cooked with either garlic butter, chicken stock, or wine, then stuffed back into the shell and served. Typical escargot plates have indents for placing the shell on, and although I have never tried them, I have heard they have a unique flavor and consistency.

I have always wanted to try escargot, have you?

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