That’s the Way it Es-car-goes!

Several years ago I was surprised to learn that May 24 is National Escargot Day. I have to admit, I was pretty excited about this. While I wasn’t sure how all the snails felt about it, I did know what my daughter thought.

“Guess what? Next Tuesday is National Escargot Day,” I said to my daughter.

“What’s that?” she responded.

“Escargot? Its snails.”

“Is it a kind of snail?” she asked. “Why would some snail get its own day?”

“It’s the name of a dish.” I explained. “Escargot is snails cooked in garlic and butter sauce.” I waited a moment for this clarification to sink in, and then I covered my ears.

“EEEEWWWWWWW!!!” “You mean you EAT THEM???””

“Not routinely,” I said. “Just sometimes when we go out to dinner. Usually at a French restaurant.”

She looked aghast. “What do they taste like?”

“They taste like garlic and butter.”

“No, I mean… do they feel, you know, SNAILY?”

I snorted. I’d never heard the word used as an adjective before.

“Kind of chewy, actually.”


I could see we weren’t making any headway here. I decided to try a different tact.

“Hey you eat clams,” I said. “Those are gastropods just like snails.”

“That’s different. Clams are seafood and they don’t have eyeballs and leave slime trails when they move. Besides, you know what you are getting when you order clams.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I think this Ess-car-goat thing is a cover-up.

“Escar-GO.” I corrected.

“Whatever. I think they are trying to hide the fact that you are eating something disgusting by giving it a fancy name. Like Calamari for squid,” she explained.

“You mean like Sweet Breads?” I chimed in.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“”Veal pancreas.”


“Or Pâté…”

“What’s that?”

“Goose liver.”


This was actually fun. The only problem was, I was pretty sure if I kept going, I was going to doom her to a life of Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets.

“OK, I promise I won’t serve you Escargot or Sweet Breads or Pâté.”

“Good,” she exhaled. “So what’s for dinner?”

“Cervelle de veau.”

“What’s that?” she asked.

“Calf brains.”


©2011, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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