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The Snail Wrangler (Dining Raising Sought After Snails in California)
New York Times ^ | October 16, 2012 | JEFF GORDINIER

Posted on 10/17/2012 2:58:03 PM PDT by nickcarraway

EVEN if you love eating snails, it is possible that you have never given much thought to the way they live.

Maybe you assume that they are weak and slow, enduring lives of quiet desperation, as Thoreau once described the bulk of humanity. If so, Mary Stewart, a snail rancher whose mollusks are sought after by top chefs all over the country (including Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller), will not hesitate to set you straight.

“They are the loudest, noisiest munchers you’ve ever heard,” she said on a hot Central Valley morning, smoking a cigarette in a small air-conditioned room attached to a farm stand a few steps from her house.

Chefs at restaurants like Tertulia and Vinegar Hill House in New York, Moto in Chicago and the Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle cook with her snails because of the care she puts into cultivating and cleaning them. That attention to detail fosters tenderness, an absence of grit and a fresh taste with, at times, a very slight note of basil.

But it’s hard to imagine what it actually means to care for snails unless you visit Ms. Stewart, who lives in a mobile home in this agricultural area north of Bakersfield, Calif. To raise delicious snails, you apparently have to know what makes them tick, and Ms. Stewart, who turned 64 a few weeks ago, has spent a couple of decades educating herself.

She has learned that snails can move a lot faster than their reputation would suggest, especially when they pick up the lure of food. Spray them with mist, give them some crisp lettuce and “here they come, just like cows at feeding time,” she said. “You can hear them munching and crunching just like cattle. I’m serious. They’re fascinating. And they’re so strong.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Agriculture; Food; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: smokingiscool

1 posted on 10/17/2012 2:58:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

No. the loudest, nosiest muncher we’ve ever heard is Rosie O Donnell


2 posted on 10/17/2012 3:03:27 PM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: nickcarraway

I used to try to get kicked out of class on purpose when I was younger so I could go outside and play with the snails. LOL


3 posted on 10/17/2012 3:04:42 PM PDT by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
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To: ViLaLuz

Careful, some wag will make a quip about leaving slimey trails...........


4 posted on 10/17/2012 3:05:15 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: doorgunner69

Okay, I’ll do it... I will not eat anything that leaves a snot trail on the sidewalk.


5 posted on 10/17/2012 3:11:09 PM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
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To: nickcarraway

She SMOKES and then handles them!??!

TAINTED, I tell you! TAINTED!!


6 posted on 10/17/2012 3:31:42 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-ppression)
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To: Afterguard

>> I will not eat anything that leaves a snot trail on the sidewalk.

I’ll have yours. I love escargot!

But the bastards that raise them ought to be in prison. Do you know that food snails spend their ENTIRE LIVES crammed into little rock-hard cells that are BARELY big enough to contain their tasty little bodies?

PETA, call your office.


7 posted on 10/17/2012 3:44:59 PM PDT by Nervous Tick ("You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.")
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To: nickcarraway

I once had “schnecken” (snails) in Germany at a guesthouse. Not many; a bit rubbery for me. Seasoned nice, though.


8 posted on 10/17/2012 3:51:48 PM PDT by Twinkie (WE ARE HURTING IN OBAMA'S ECONOMY . . .)
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To: nickcarraway

“... she’s more inclined to heat up her mollusks in Pepperidge Farm pastry shells with some shallots, parsley and sweet butter.”

“Brian Leth, the chef at Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn, pairs the snails with olive-oil-poached baby artichokes on flatbread.”

“A signature dish at Tertulia... is arroz a la plancha, a sort of griddle-crisped risotto in which Ms. Stewart’s snails emerge as earthy nubs of texture within a mound of rice, mushrooms and jamón Ibérico.” - The slow cured Spanish ham is very expensive though one of the nicer prosciuttos may be substituted.


9 posted on 10/17/2012 4:06:45 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: concentric circles

Just goes to show that anything’s edible if you put enough parsley and garlic butter on it.


10 posted on 10/17/2012 4:23:43 PM PDT by Argus
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To: nickcarraway

I can’t make any sense out of the parenthetical phrase in the headline.


11 posted on 10/17/2012 4:27:03 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: Argus

Indeed, I even put it on portions of domestic bovine ungulate, preferably grilled.


12 posted on 10/17/2012 4:36:51 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: nickcarraway

Ahhhhhh.......the NY Times. Can’t investigate the Benghazi coverup because they’re too busy covering rock-em sock-em stories like....”Do snails chew with their mouths shut?” Gripping. Pullitzer Prize material. Destined to be compared with Woodward and Bernstein’s daily coverage of how much chocolate to put in chocolate milk.


13 posted on 10/17/2012 6:17:39 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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