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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dead slugs and the thing that barfed itself to death

I spent an hour on the phone with a good friend of mine, Mariè, on Wednesday. We used to hang out all the time, back when I lived in the city (Ah! Civilization – I remember it, vaguely, in the back of my mind along with the red wagon I had when I was three), but there aren’t a lot of opportunities for us to get together these days. The girl, Parisian by birth, is one of those chefs who love to cook even after she goes off work, and used to have friends over for dinner all the time. Mostly, this was terrific, but for a while it became almost bloodcurdling.

I know what you’re thinking. “Listen to her! She’s got a real, live chef cooking for her, and this is how she shows her gratitude. What a spoiled *****” Well, you know what you’re words were. And yes, at first it was brilliant. Absolutely, completely and totally superb. But then it changed. She started cooking some seriously weird stuff.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; slugs weren’t meant to be eaten. Those of my friends who are French either by birth or in spirit, will object now, of course. Jazz once said that the idea of eating snails was less daunting if you called the dish “Escargot”, like they do in France. This didn’t help me when I was sitting by Marie’s round kitchen table with three friends, staring the content our round dinner plates.

“Don’t look so sceptical. They really don’t taste like anything at all. The seasoning provides all of the flavour,” she said to me, as she was cooking the revolting little things. We were all supposed to turn up at her flat just after she finished cooking (I’m guessing that she was going to feed her Escargots to us poor, unsuspecting victims, and then let us know what we’d just eaten once it had started working its way through our digestive systems), but she gave me the wrong time, so I came early enough to see what she was up to.
“Well, then you eat those and I’ll lick the frying pan,” I said.
Mariè laughed. I wasn’t joking.

Just as I had stuck my fork in one of the little nightmares, my cellphone rang.
“Hello. I’m calling on behalf of The Really Wonderful Newspaper. Would you like to hear about our subscription services?” chirped a woman’s voice in my ear.
“Okay, I’ll be right over,” I said. Then I put on my regretful face and told my friends that I had to go. To this day, I’ve never eaten a snail.



The week after that, Mariè served her last scary meal - a fish. It had been baked whole in the oven and now it lay on an elegant serving platter, surrounded by various accessories, with stuffing coming out of its open mouth. It looked a bit as if it had barfed itself to death.

After that, things returned to normal.





Eye pic by Fazen for www.Flickr.com


Snail pic by Giamil for www.sxc.hu

8 comments:

Jazz said...

I'm ok with the "escargots" (not that they're my favourite food or even a staple I keep on hand), but the whole fish thing? NO. Just No. There is nothing worse than having a dead animal you're about to eat stare up at you while you do it.

choochoo said...

I know. It's just wrong on so many levels...

ticknart said...

I would have offered to poke the eyes out for you, that way it wouldn't have been staring anymore.

choochoo said...

yes, it would have been a great help if it looked like it died from barfing so hard, its eyes popped out of its head:P

Tim Rice said...

I have never eaten snails; never intend to; but then who knows? I have once eaten armadillo and enjoyed it.

On a different subject, sometime back you commented about animals fighting back against humankind. Well, I just heard a report on NPR where early this week sea lions near San Francisco, CA have started biting people in their waters. Maybe, the animals really are fighting back. ;)

Too_Lively said...

Luckily, Marie wasn't a hairdresser or she may have regularly experimented on you, or like my nurse friend who stuck needles in me to practice for her studies.

Modern Viking said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again-- pass the ketchup! I wish I had something fancy to eat like that right now. Grilled cheese is about all I can muster...

choochoo said...

Tim - They are. I'm telling you. lol

Lively - Yikes. A friend of mine went to nursing school, but she practised on tomatoes and oranges. Phew.

Viking - if you'd been there you could have had mine.