An unfamiliar mollusk

I’m having one of those “It’s not you, it’s me. Wait. Maybe it is you” kind of moments. In this case, “you” is (are) being played by the frozen cooked apple snails I bought from Midway Asian Market, in my aforementioned attempt at food-pioneering my way through that frozen section.

I figure I can’t think of a single meat that isn’t better preserved by freezing than by canning, right? (Sardines—maybe.) And I have loved canned snails as long as I can remember. In fact, I was so young when I first got the idea to make mushroom caps stuffed with snails that I had to stand on a chair to get the tray into the oven. In Alaska I once harvested snails straight off the kelp in the ocean, sauteed them in butter on a beachside fire and smashed them like a caveman, spitting out the grit. These denuded snails look so lovely there sleeping in neat lines in the tray, curvy and delicate.

But one sniff—oh God no. Not food, says my primitive reptile brain (and you’d think the reptile would be more amenable to mollusks!)

Surely they must be spoiled.

Or is it me? In college my boyfriend and I bought some cheese, searching for the One Best Cheese he had discovered in France. “This smells like feet,” he said without ceremony, upon the unwrapping of it. “I don’t know,” I said. “It’s not so bad.” We took it back to the store. It only about three dollars’ worth, a tiny wedge of Muenster, which I now know as a famously stinky—and sublime—cheese. I’m still embarrassed when I think about it, though not so embarrassed that I won’t publish the story on the Internet for your entertainment.

So is it me or is it them?

Internet query: I find I am once again guilty of eating an animal other people keep as a pet.


2 responses to “An unfamiliar mollusk

  1. I’m not sure what frozen snails should smell like. Perhaps rinsing them in cold water and maybe a splash of lemon juice.

    Howver, as a long term project, let’s make a date for Spring to gather and fatten snails for escargot.

    I have instructions in the River Cottage Cookbook.

  2. Oh fun. At the link above, amid categories such as brood size, origin, sexing and so forth, the snails’ “attitude” is characterized as “eats day and night.” That’s a mollusk after my own heart. Let’s do that! It’s got to be easier than rabbit hunting.

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