November 27, 2005
The Uninvited Guests


I brought back some lovely fresh spinach from the organic market last week. And as I was washing it and tearing off the occasional tough stem, I suddenly realized that there were uninvited dinner guests in the bag. Here's one of them.

What would you do? I put the leaf gently in the planter on my terrace. Yes, the winter could will probably kill the poor little fellow (and his friends). But I don't like playing God. I prefer to put them in the Great Outdoors with a little food and hope for the best.

The Critic says, "Don't they eat vegetables? Like the ones you plant out there?"

Posted by Meg in Sussex at November 27, 2005 3:36 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

So you eat Thumper the rabbit, but won't kill a bug? :)

I drowned the hell out of a bee I got in a zucchini blossom one time. Insects outnumber us, and I think outweigh us as biomass. I have no compunctions defending myself against them.

Of course, I read William Vollman's Angels and Insects, so that may have influenced me...

Posted by barrett on November 28, 2005 at 9:15 AM

I hear (read) Angels and Insects, and all I can think of is A.S. Byatt's book.

I usually get so creeped out by uninvited bugs that I'd probably dump the whole package of spinach outside.

Posted by holly on November 28, 2005 at 11:45 AM

That's because"Angels and Insects" is the A.S. Byatt book title. D'oh.

I meant to say William Vollman's "You Bright and Risen Angels", which is about a war between insects and humans.

You can see how I messed up the title, I'm sure. Oops.

Posted by barrett on November 28, 2005 at 12:25 PM

Obviously my photography skills are not as good as I thought - it's a cute little snail. And he had a lot of brothers. I suppose I could always harvest them next summer and serve them with a nice garlic butter!

That said, it's a pretty long and disgusting process to get them from live little critters to delicious garlic bombs. I might just let them peacefully co-exist with the worms...

Posted by Meg in Paris on November 28, 2005 at 1:11 PM

I don't know what I thought, but I didn't think that escargot were just regular, garden variety snails. Out of curiosity, what is the long and disgusting process?

Posted by holly on November 28, 2005 at 6:41 PM

I have never had escargot yet.

I wouldn't turn them down if someone I trusted cooked them, though.

I figure the cold will get them.

Or maybe some friendly birds will eat them from your terrace for you...they think snails are right tasty.

Posted by Barbara on November 28, 2005 at 11:57 PM

Holly, I once dated a French fellow whose mother gathered snails from the garden and preserved them. I'm not sure that you can eat the garden variety throughout the world, but certainly the "petit gris" (little grey) ones of the Vendée region in France are delicious.

The preparation is both unkind and disgusting. Some methods call for feeding the snails first, but not all. Then you starve them over several weeks, so that they, um, evacuate their systems if you see what I mean. That is slimy and disgusting. Then you have to wash them thoroughly, which is also slimy and disgusting. And then, finally, you boil them and put them in jars. When you finally want to eat them, you tuck them into shells, cover them with a mixture of garlic, butter and parsley (and a pinch of salt and pepper) and bake until bubbly.

I'm not sure if Mme Hollard actually used a drum from a washing machine or if she bought an apparatus that looked like the drum of a washing machine to keep the snails in during the preparation. She used to go out during rainstorms with a pan and a wooden spoon to imitate the thunder and "call" the snails out. (I'm not sure that wasn't just put on for the stupid American, though! : ) )

Barbara, if you ever come to Paris I would be delighted to introduce you to them. They are a delicious garlic vehicle!

Posted by Meg in Paris on November 29, 2005 at 2:01 AM

Meg, thanks for the explanation. You're right, that does sound like a pretty disgusting process.

Posted by holly on December 1, 2005 at 5:26 AM

At least getting bugs in your veg means you're not ingesting huge amounts of pesticide?

See it as a good thing. Then squash them.

Posted by Richard on December 1, 2005 at 11:03 AM

Richard, it's totally a good thing. I don't mind sharing, providing the critters aren't poisonous or noxious to me. It's a zen live and let live world where I'm at (unless it's tasty and someone else has already killed it in which case I'm all over it)!

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 1, 2005 at 11:19 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please be sure you read and agree with our ADVERTISING POLICY before posting.