Friday, April 18, 2008


Coming home one day, I found that a slug had managed to slip inside a sloppily installed wall socket and had the only quick thrill of its life when head and tail connected both poles.

I could only identify the animal by a tiny piece of skin lodged in a corner, all the rest being a sort of yellow foam spread all over. I imagine most of their body is water.

The same must happen with snails. If you want to eat snails, you have a problem in killing them. The animal is all foot, and you can’t kill an animal by just twisting its foot. You can’t electrocute them, I saw the result and it didn’t look edible. Freezing seems the only practical solution to kill a snail without damaging the meal. But there was a time when, for doing that, you had to take the animals to the next glacier and back, in time for lunch. Besides, the animal must be out of the shell when ready for eating and I suspect the cold will send him inside forever.

So, usually people just cook them alive, after a complicate ritual that involves, among other things, cleaning it from the mucus. Stories and tricks abound on how to do this. I don’t advise you to wash them the day they were caught, I saw once a friend of my mine doing it and it was not nice to look at his face when the job was done. Usually they are hanged in nets for several days and especially nights, until they rubbed themselves against each other enough to loose the major part of the mucus.

They can be kept for a while in recipients covered with nets or surrounded with salt. Snails avoid the salt but some are courageous enough to brave it.

There is a tradition that snails are good for lung diseases, but for that you have to eat the animal alive.


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