Sunday, 8 December 2019

Snail-like ...


Well this was to be a brief update after the hiatus of November and time away (it got longish) … I’ve been trickling along at a snail’s pace … with ‘interruptions’ of a funeral to help arrange and …

Top half  of issue Nov 1982 - this is the Great Blizzard of 1891
(link below) sent to me in South Africa by my mother
… taking over the organisation of a monthly dinner for +/- sixty - seventy … but with us both having incompatible software – ne’er mind … next year we start afresh: or rather I do … and I think we’re almost there!


I’ve got used to having ‘meetings’ or get-togethers in buses, or for some reason charity shops … I’m donating or friends and I are just quickly looking for a missing item – that we might find which won’t cost us a fortune.  Free buses are a boon, for those without a car …


Escargots served in their shells
Snails came up via the Beeb … but then the muddled grey cells also came into play … I thought I’d spotted a snail article in that November 1982 Western Morning News Souvenir compilation –mostly photos …


Frogcatchers (1930s) ... on sale
out of a Sunlight soap box!

… but it was about frogcatchers in the 1930s in western Cornwall – they were, I hate to say it, used in medical research – which frankly after the Depression was a useful evil for those who were able to earn a few pennies to feed their families.




Back to the American snails – ne’er a story to be missed … one of those ‘believe it or not’ slithery tales … Taylor Knapp, a chef, who after spending time in Europe realised there was an opening to put fresh (cooked and rather than tinned) escargots on the menu …


Snail caviar!
… but he couldn’t bring in live products for reproductive purposes … however he found some little grey snails in California – which with regulatory approval could be bred.



These slow moving slippery critters had been around since the 1850s … they’d got past the US Customs Service, which had been in existence since 1789 and were happily breeding in California.  
George Washington, (and I have something to tell you about him too,) signed the Tariff Act of July 4, 1789 – appropriate date.


Escargots in a snail dish with herby bread
Taylor fund-raised, worked to set their living quarters up – a greenhouse – Alcatraz style – passing the USDA’s strictures and hey presto – fresh French escargots could be on the menu.


The farm is in Washington state … so heliculture is rife on both coasts … and Taylor is aiming to expand his sales beyond the saturated market of New York.


I don’t want to bedazzle you with a new word at the end of 2019 – but perhaps heliculture could be brought into posts in 2020?    
It is the science and occupation of growing snails for food.  (Blend of New Latin Helix, genus of spiral-shelled molluscs from Greek helix, and culture.)


Frogs various
I thought I’d found more information on frog-catching in Cornwall … but no – it was ‘the crowning event’, at a Rolls-Royce picnic in Canada, when live frog-catching in a pond of very rich in muddy clay was the last children’s game … after the sack race, three-legged race et al … their enthusiasm brought results: the frogs being released after the count.
  



Frog Larva about to metamorphose
What the Rolls Royces look like afterwards isn’t told … but relating back to that era – the maidservants, chauffeurs and retainers presumably would have had to deal with the mess … while the family carried on with their lives.


My life at my snail’s pace is comfortable – a few things get done – then an interlude while I deal with things … and so it goes – I am sorting my Ma’s and my own papers out – clearing the decks and am finding all sorts …


The bottom half of the Souvenir - this shows
coach and horses pulling out of
Okehampton,  West Devon
… but once done – then that’s it and makes life easier for me, or should something happen – then ‘things be sorted’  a number of things going to charity or appropriate friends/family … it takes time.


I have been out and about a bit … on a number of tours, to museums and to my goddaughter’s family near Milton Keynes – which proved a very interesting informative long weekend – where George Washington came in …


Now to think about the WEP/IWSG challenge about ‘Footprints’ … Christmas and the New Year … after which  more posts will be forthcoming …



Great Blizzard of 1891 (9 – 13 March) Wiki post … but see Weather Events listed in a table under the wiki entry … interesting!  I’m glad I was out of the country in the 1980s …

Snail Farming c/o the BBC … and more can be found on the Heliculture wiki page …

My wellie boot imprint in
Canadian snowfall
I also wandered off looking for escargot photos with fresh bread … but came across this Brit – who has opened a snail farm ineastern France – fascinating read! 

... interesting ideas for snail recipes too … sausages, smoked snails with goats’ cheese and fig, snails with Roquefort and walnut butter in a wafer case, “tikka masala snails” are all loved by the locals and expanding clientele …

Take care my footprints are on their way …

... and last but not least - of course I could have had frogs legs as an appetiser ... forgot that!


Hilary Melton-Butcher 
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

39 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

I can relate to doing things at a snail's pace but am being to to wish there was one even slower than that.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Hilary: Heliculture, huh? Certainly a new word to me and I suspect to most. Even the aficianados of the chewy treat probably were unaware of the technical term for the farming of the creatures. I think, however, we should give serious consideration to using as a substitute for politics, since there exists a host of slimy creatures - on both sides of the Atlantic - and beyond - slithering around leaving their unpleasant tracks. What's that I hear - it would be insulting to the snails to associate them with such riffraff? That is, sadly, all too true.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...gotta admit I kinda 'slithered' through this post! The vegetarian railed a bit. Love your ramble and 'footsteps' though! YAM xx

Jz said...

Oooh, I can't wait to hear about the Milton Keynes / George Washington connection!

And yes, glad I didn't have to be the one cleaning the Rolls!

Liza said...

I have never eaten a snail, or a frog for that matter. But I have eaten jellyfish. My word for the year is xeriscape...a style of landscape design requiring little or no irrigation or other maintenance, used in arid regions.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob - oh yes ... I'm definitely slowing down - I suspect more laziness than pure slowing down: I hope so anyway!

@ David - I did consider puffing and huffing, as too with my footprints post ... but really enough is enough ... I dread Friday coming around. We've got 5 candidates standing here - we shall see.

Heliculture was fascinating to find out about ... it's an interesting subject - I loved finding the links. I suspect the snails would be a bit put out to find that politicians had been rounded up into their farms! Great idea though ... especially if we could add frogs into the mix ... luverley thought?!

@ Yam - sorry for the vegetarian in you ... but thanks for happily enjoying the ramble and footsteps through the post ...


@ Jz - yes the visit up to MK was great fun ... but Georgie baby was nearby ... and oh yes the Rolls' (plural) - ghastly thought about cleaning up after that gloopy mud!

@ Liza - I can imagine a lot of people haven't eaten either ... and if you don't like garlic - then not a good idea ... I love them all - though rarely eat them now ...

I tried to find Jellyfish up in Victoria, Vancouver Island ... but failed dismally; now your word 'xeriscape' is fascinating - I think I'll remember that ...

Thanks for your visits to these slippery critters and my rambles around life - cheers Hilary

Chatty Crone said...

Okay - one word - YUCK!
I am a baby I guess, but I wouldn't or couldn't eat that if I had to.
I do like how you look things up and continue to search onward - like Heliculture. You are always learning and sharing - your footprint you leave will be awesome.

Patsy said...

I didn't realise heliculture was a word. I should have done as I sem to accidentally do a lot of it!

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for the update.
As soon as I saw the post title I thought of Mary Tova Bailey's 'The sound of a wild snail eating' a book I loved a few years ago - and should reread.
And as always a big thank you for your eclectic post which sent my mind slithering down rabbit holes.

Susan Kane said...

We had some snails when visiting France in 1985. they were okay, but not enough to ever eat them again.

I grew up on a farm and we ate "peepers" from a pond near our house. Not worthy enough.

This was an awesome post.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a big dinner you're planning.
Glad someone was able to put the little snail invader to good use.

Rhonda Albom said...

Snails, escargot, my French neighbour didn't care. At one of his parties, escargot were on the appetizer trays. When I asked where he got the snails, he said the garden. I inquired further about their "properness" and he replied, "we're French, we eat anything." To be honest, they were quite good. I guess copious amounts of butter is the trick.

Hels said...

I am very ambivalent about heliculture because I don't want to eat, socialise with or study animals with fewer or more than four legs. So no snails, lobsters, jelly fish, worms, clams or anything else small and slippery. On the other hand, animals with exactly four legs have brains and personalities, so I don't want to be eating them either eg cows, dogs, cats, sheep etc.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I would love a snail's pace of life. Not snails to eat though.

Botanist said...

I'm a bit surprised the "little" grey snail in California would be any use for the market. I thought the ones for eating were specially bred and quite large, or they'd be too fiddly to bother with.

Denise Covey said...

Hilary, those snails have left a footprint or two. Never thought I would, but I've actually eaten garlicky snails as an amuse bouche at a French restaurant. Hmm. If it's free you've gotta do it, right? They tasted yummy if I stopped thinking about what I had in my mouth. Hmm.

Thanks for the shout out for WEP. Expect it'll be a quiet one but I'd like to be surprised. Remember, posting in a couple of days...

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I remember being in Provence once when, after a rainstorm, everyone was out and about hunting snails - not the most exciting chase in the world! I tried some snails a few days later and they were very tasty. My mother's garden was full of snails but, even though they ate lots of flowers and vegetables, I never resorted to eating the little darlings.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandy – sorry … for some I guess that’d be the word! It ended up being an interesting time looking into Heliculture … and yes I’m certainly leaving my own footprints here –thank you for that thought …

@ Patsy – well you’re great heliculturalist … and now on your most recent post I see you’ve had a wee accident in the garden with your hand – appropriate, though not intentional addition to this post … but another competition possibility …

@ EC – thanks for the excellent idea about Elisabeth Tova Bailey and her book ‘The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating’ … the opening chapters are available on her website … interesting to read.

Belated eclectic post … but lots of rabbit holes as I found … farming of snails, and weather related links … so glad you enjoy exploring like me …

@ Susan – I think you have to like garlic and butter and then the snails go down a treat … but I guess you ate the legs of the “peepers”? Obviously not a recipe you’ve collected from those early days … just the memory. Delighted you enjoyed my snail-like foray around ideas …

@ Alex – it’s a monthly do for an organisation I belong to – not too difficult … but there are choices on the menu – simple ones granted – which can be a bit of a headache collating all things.

It seems they’re not sure if the snails came in from France or Italy … but obviously people who wanted their local fare to be available in early days in California.

@ Rhonda – if he was French in France … you were probably safe – and are still here: so all well. Most of his other guests were locals one presumes … and had eaten his free offerings in the past – and yes … lots of butter and garlic and you’re home and away with a tasty appetiser. Fun story though …

@ Hels – I’m sorry about the post … and am glad you’re ambivalent and not too distressed about it! I disliked touching worms, frogs, tadpoles et al growing up … but love eating oysters, snails, frog legs, lobsters (especially!) – but do understand your particular choices in life …

@ Diane – yes … I guess you’re galloping along most of the time … and lack of desire to eat snails is just fine!

@ Ian – it’s interesting they were the ones that were imported in the 1850s, presumably earlier, and so are the ones that are used. Those in the snail farm in France – the English chap decided on the larger variety … but I agree the smaller ones would seem to be too fiddly - they must have a way!

@ Denise – yes they’ve travelled a lot haven’t they – footprint or no. I guess you’ve eaten prawns et al … similar to snails … and are always well cleaned – I remember the tanks in the lobster and crab processing plant near my Ma (back in the Cornish days) … as well as oysters …

Pleasure re WEP – mine will go up on Thursday … the day before the dreaded results here … heaven help this country – let’s hope I’m wrong!

@ John – how funny … and how interesting – that ties in with Rhonda’s note about being offered escargots by her neighbour to be informed they came from the garden.

I’ve only had snails here and perhaps in Canada (as I’ve had some recently) …but frogs’ legs only in France … and I wouldn’t eat snails from the garden – though had plenty of them around. Yes they enjoy the English flowers and vegs … they are one of the great survivors of this planet …

Thanks so much every one – my snail-like post is amusing you all: I’m glad to say … cheers for now - Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

Escargot was a very popular starter in my bistro in Carlisle Road. I've also served them a few times to guests at my dinner parties. They are a bit Marmitey though! Me? I'm more of a frog-leaper than a snail-creeper!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Isn't it nice to have 2020 coming up so soon so we can start afresh? Good luck with your party! Wow...that's a lot of guests.

Frog-catching as a children's game: I can't even imagine! My son did spend a lot of time in the creek as a child, but was catching salamanders and that was dirty/messy enough, ha. Can't imagine the mud.

Joanne said...

When I think of snails I always have to snicker - I picture Steve Martin the movie The Jerk. He orders escargot. When they arrive, he's very put out, "There are snails on my plate." Funny scene!
Puttering along at a snail pace is just fine these days. The world is moving far too fast otherwise.
Nice meandering post, but you always tie up neatly. Take care

Jo said...

I haven't had fresh snails in a coon's age Hilary, you made me quite hungry. I went snail hunting with a French family after it rained and we caught 75 of them. Madame rinsed them for two days in running water. They were delicious.

Frogs legs I ate once but wasn't terribly keen.

Rhodesia said...

I quite like snails but I prefer to have them in a restaurant where I do not have to do all the work.

I went over to see my neighbour one-day last year and she was preparing the snails her husband had collected. She had so many and they were climbing all over the sink and up the wall. I think they had been feed lettuce leaves for the past week and she was now washing them ready for cooking. Nope, I will stick to ones in the restaurant rather than have the free ones!

Cheers Diane

Jacqui Murray said...

I am so glad you're back with us. You have a lovely friendly voice I miss when I don't hear it. I'll be taking a short break soon but not long enough to get out of the rhythm. I'm afraid if I did, I wouldn't return!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - I'm certain they were popular ... I used to eat them - but not at your Carlisle Road restaurant. I've never served them to guests though. You're right about the Marmite effect - but I love marmite ... so this blogger is happy! I also loved frogs' legs though didn't have them that often ... you certain dash around - I've just got to the point when I do things at my pace ... rather than as I used to.

@ Elizabeth - yes I'll be glad to see 2020 - but perhaps after Friday: not so much ... election result day ... I shall sleep through to the morning! Thankfully my party is an organisation one - I just tot the numbers up and make sure I alter the food as necessary ... most people are fine - just one or two challenges.

I was surprised to see the Canadians (not the Brits, I note) enjoying a party game of frog-catching = each country to its own?! Oh yes salamanders can be interesting too - preferring the damper conditions ... but kids we love doing things our experimental way ... we used to pop down to the local stream and I used to make manure pies for tea!

@ Joanne - I've never seen that clip - but now have watched and probably need to see the rest of the film! I am definitely puttering along - and yes sometimes I wonder what I'm doing ... everyone is 'dancing along' - ah well I'm moving ...

Thanks re the tie up and meandering along - and appreciating the post ...

@ Jo - I know I too love snails ... but I've never been hunting them with a French family ... and then rinsing them for 2 days in running water - think of our water bill?! But wonderful memories - glad I stirred them for you ...

I did love frogs' legs when I ate them ... but escargots were more easily found ...

@ Diane - yes I think I'd rather have them from a restaurant - but I guess if I was in France then I'd follow the French ... if that's how they caught and served them.

Jo seemed to think it was a couple of days of fresh water through-put - but probably your neighbour had her process right too ... but despite the fresh lettuce throughput - I think I'd prefer them from a restaurant ...

@ Jacqui - thanks so much for the lovely comment. It's wonderful to know 'I'm missed' - I feel nostalgic reading your comment - many thanks.

I remember you said you were having a break - enjoy and I look forward to seeing you around again ... I'm not sure how one can get out of blogging - the ideas just flow. When I haven't blogged it's been a great break ... but I ache to put a post up! But I'm not writing books, nor do I have a family to look after ... still - it's the way we structure our lives ... just have a peaceful lovely time.

Thanks every one - so wonderful to hear from you on my return ... and see you all soon - cheers Hilary



Liz A. said...

Considering just how many snails I encounter "in the wild" (outside), it's amazing to me that they weren't native.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Goodness, you have quite the get-together to prepare for.

I can guarantee that I will not eat snails unless they are the only food left in the world. However,as a child I have eaten frog legs. They weren't terrible, but I'd rather kiss a frog than eat one.

Teresa

Dan said...

I didn't know it was a word, or an industry. You would think Mother Nature provides enough snails for those who enjoy them. I must admit, I have eaten them, once. An English friend of mine, while visiting the US ordered them at dinner. He told me I had to try them, so he placed an order for me as well. They weren't bad. I'm not sure I'd order them again, but I finished them.

I think we're all looking forward to the clean slate the new year seems to bring. That said, I hope you enjoy the rest of this one, too.

Deborah Weber said...

Delightful post Hilary, and you know I love to be bedazzled by a new word. I'll be popping it into conversation today. :-) Snail's pace or frog-leaping, I think there's something good to be said about it all. But I, too, am looking forward to the fresh possibilities 2020 will usher in.

D.G. Kaye said...

This was such an interesting post Hilary. Wow on the story about snails and how they emigrated to California. I was a bit hesitant on reading too much about them because as one who easily gets grossed out by food, I do enjoy escargot, and maybe knowing less is better LOL :) Hugs

DMS said...

What an interesting post. With the colder weather I have been moving at a snail's pace. But- I haven't eaten snails before. Before I was a vegetarian it may have been a possibility. :) Have a great day!
~Jess

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Such an interesting and informative post that I really enjoyed.
My life is going at a snail pace

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - A snail's pace life sounds perfect to me!
Good luck with your party planning - that's a BIG crowd!
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2020!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liz - there are edible varieties ... and the imported ones in the 1800s were of that sort ...

@ Teresa - it's an organisation ... so happens monthly and I'm just the bookings co-ordinator ... always things happening though.

I guessed many Americans wouldn't eat snails ... but I'm impressed you have eaten snails ... well actually I'd do the opposite: I'd rather eat the legs than kiss a frog!!

@ Dan - I too hadn't come across the word for farming snails (heliculture) - it bemused me! I agree re Mother Nature - but they're the wrong sort ... so not edible for humans. Brave friend ordering that platter of snails for you to try ... but glad you finished them, and can understand you not wanting a repeat.

It seems that clean slate is ready for us all - while yes between us let's enjoy what's left of this year ... very slowly snailing along if necessary!

@ Deborah - I'm just glad everyone's taken my snail's pace or frog-leaping to their fun heart ... while the interesting addition to our vocabulary bemused me. I hope very much that 2020 will be generous to us all ... and am really looking forward to that clean slate: though lots to do wipe a great deal clean.

@ Debby - the introduction of edible snails into California fascinated me - glad it did you too: who'd have thought? I think I kept the post fairly clean ... just talking about snails will gross some people out ... but delighted to find you do enjoy escargot - better in French than English - perhaps?

@ Jess - oh another vegetarian - then I can understand you won't want to try snails. But we can both go along at that snail's pace ... you with your wintry weather, while I'm hoping the wintry white stuff will stay away.

@ Jo-Anne - yes life can continue on for many at a snail's pace ... but glad you enjoyed the post.

@ Donna - It's an organisational dinner each month ... so not too bad - most done for us; I just need to keep track of numbers etc ...

I hope you can enjoy some snail's pace Christmas cheer - enjoy the break til January clocks around ...

Thanks everyone - enjoy your daily count down ... and I'm mighty grateful it's still relatively mild here ... makes life so much easier. Cheers to you all - Hilary

bazza said...

I just can't face the thought of eating snails. It must be the slime I suppose because I am partial to all forms of shell-fish and seafood (except oysters!) Hooray for Heliculture!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s never knowingly novaturient Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I quite understand ... but I love oysters too ... yet seafood is always delicious ... and amazing that word: heliculture ... more of us do it, I suspect, than we admit - cheers Hilary

PS having just looked up 'novaturient' - yes can quite agree with that ... soul searching: I just search ... not sure it's for my soul though! ... but great word.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I think I accidently ate a snail at a party years ago, and it did not sit well with me. I'm just not that refined I suppose. I've never had frog either, although I have a much younger cousin who would eat them right out of the pond when she was about three years old. We always tried to keep her from them, but she would get such a kick out of watching the rest of us gag. I'll never forget those little legs sticking out past her lips - awful. Kind of funny now, but ewwwww.
Have a great rest of your week!
Andrea

Friko said...

Frogs and snails and all things slippery and slimy, hm, I can’t feel entirely unshivery about them. I have never eaten either although I’ve watched others eat them relic. Yuck.

I know all about living life at a leisurely pace, it feels good sometimes. I am doing much the same myself.

btw I am having trouble commenting again, it took me ages to get in.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Andrea - I can understand and our thoughts play such a role when eating something that we consider odd ... perhaps making us believe it'll be unpleasant.

Your cousin sounds horrific ... mind you I made worm and manure pies I wanted my parents to eat ... but to live with that image of your cousin with the bow-legged feet sticking out of her mouth ... too much - wonderful story though!! and yes very funny now ... but ewwww ... as you say.

@ Friko - sorry about not being able to comment - I'm not sure why as I haven't changed anything and can't work it out ...

Sorry about the eating thereof - snails and frogs ... I don't eat them often - though a friend here says he used to have them on his menu when he had a local restaurant ... but I've never seen them on a menu down here ...

Life at a leisurely pace is good - but one can get behind ... eg today - when I'm meant to be out and about ... ah well - I'll get there.

Thanks to you both - cheers for now ... Hilary