Ever wonder how you'd go about eating the snails in your garden? Well wonder no more...
After discovering hordes of cute but voracious little snails overrunning my garden, I got to wondering, as I often do about living things that cross my path, whether they're edible. I had a plateful of escargot long ago at Chez Jean in Cambridge, MA (now Chez Henri's) and I kinda liked the flavor -- the flavor being primarily butter and garlic and salt and also more butter. So I did some research on the handy Interweb and discovered that the snails colonizing my garden here in the Bay Area are the very same species that populate the plates of French gourmands. Apparently a French entrepreneur imported them to the region during the Gold Rush in the hopes of satisfying the palates of sophisticated miners. It turned out there weren't many miners matching that description, so he ended up dumping his inventory, bequeathing us the legions of pesky escargot who defoliate our gardens today.
If you like combining your pest control efforts with culinary experimentation, you can learn how to serve up the slimy yet savory suckers in this SF Chronicle interview with Berkeley horticulturist and snail aficionado Victor Yool. The key steps are:
Incidentally, I also once ate a plate of grasshoppers. Or perhaps they were locusts. Definitely not katydids, though. In flavor, they combined the subtle charms of shrimp and corn nuts. In appearance, they resembled a car windshield after a high-speed crossing of the Great Plains. One of these days I'll track down some recipes for those tasty critters as well.