My mother used to make snails for dinner sometimes. But it wasn’t like fancy cruise ship style escargot. It was a homemade recipe. It was during World War II and all the snails would come out when it rained. My dad would go outside and pick up the snails. But you can’t eat all of them, some are poisonous and some just don’t taste good. But once he got them my mom would put them in boiling water. This would get them out of the shell and also they wouldn’t be as slimy afterwards. They would get hard kind of like shrimp. And once the snails come out of their shell she took them and spiced them with peppers and other spices. Then she would fry them and we would eat them… they weren’t bad. See the thing is during World War II, there wasn’t always meat. If we could eat meet once a week, it was a treat, so snails were a nice substitute.
- Where were you living at this time?
I was living in Jounieh, Lebanon, it’s not too far out from Beirut. During the war time we didn’t have much in terms of meat.
There is a connection between the idea that snails were used as food when meat wasn’t available and the fact that the idea of eating snails came from the French Revolution when the impoverished had no choice but to eat what they could find. The reason they need to be spiced so severly is because… it’s a snail…it can’t taste good, but it’s also interesting how the spices differed. In France, they used garlic to mask the taste whereas in this case, in Lebanon, peppers were used