Wednesday, May 25, 2011

National Escargot Day?

Sometimes (actually quite often), I wonder what planet the is on. National Escargot day? Who thought that one up? I wanted to title my article from the great old movie, "Garlic is as good as 10 mothers" but I figured they wouldn't get it.
Maybe you have to be French to really appreciate the slimy little creatures?
I used every search option that I know of and I could not find a local (i.e. Bay Area) farm that produces escargots for the dinner table. There are plenty of articles about snails which are regarded as garden pests but none of the eatable kind. So, what's a local examiner to do? We are supposed to write about local products and all I could find were recipes for snail bait. 

But really, what makes snails so delicious and appealing? Back in my youth, I ate them on a trip to France. The snails themselves didn't seem to have any taste but the sauce!

Oh the sauce was divine!

Now there are many things that the Bay Area (and California) produce that are are delicious. One of the more famous is garlic, grown right in the great metropolis of Gilroy!

In fact, Gilroy's garlic festival is famous. Held in the middle of the valley's summer heat, people line up for hours to get in. This year they have a contest to see who can really cook with garlic and they've set up a facebook link for the contest.

So You Think You Can Cook With Garlic


"In response to the vows of many of their 3.7 million visitors over 32 years, officials of the Gilroy Garlic Festival have issued the ultimate challenge: “So You Think You Can Cook With Garlic”, an all-comers cooking competition beginning April 4 on Facebook and culminating before a packed audience in the Cook-Off Theater July 29."

The contest is open to amateur chefs age 18 and over who post a video of themselves preparing their recipe on the Festival Facebook page.

So, ditch the Helix pomatia, the eatable snail and go for the sauce. Serve over steamed green beans or grilled corn or spread on French bread for the ultimate garlic bread. 

Bon appetit as Julia would say.


Zoomie said...

I may be wrong but I read somewhere that the garden snails we have in such frightful abundance are actually the same snails as one eats in France, introduced locally by some entrepreneur 'way back when who thought he could make a mint off their slimy little selves. Inevitably, a few escaped and, although he didn't make money on them as a foodstuff, perhaps he made his fortune inventing snail bait? Years ago, the Chron had a long and disgusting article on how to prepare them for the garlic sauce but just reading it was enough to discourage me from trying.

namastenancy said...

When I was writing this piece, I started to wonder who figured out how to make snails eatable in the first place. It's certainly not an intuitive process. It's time consuming, cumbersome and, well, why bother? For me, the whole point is the sauce. So, why waste it on a garden pest?

Zoomie said...

My guess it was a famine that encouraged the first taste, somewhere back in the mists of time. Why else would anyone look at that and think, "mmm-mmm, dinner!"?