In which I chew up a live snail

Snail anatomy

Snail anatomy Image: Wikimedia.

I knew there was still some of my tortilla de patatas lurking on the unlit fringes of a garden party, grabbed a small dark piece, popped it in, and crunched. I must have got its lung and probably its dick, but I kind of feel I missed its arse. I’m glad I didn’t take one of the larger dark pieces – a couple were shagging away on top of the potato onion and egg. The Horniman has a lovely little diagram similar to this one but I haven’t found one of hornisnails. I’m very fond of snail and rabbit pots, but raw tastes fine. I wonder how these Scots girls ate them:

In the town of Dundee there exists a strange traditionary story of the plague, connected with the conversion, from dire necessity of the Arionaten, or black slug, to a use similar to that which the luxurious Romans are said to have made of the great apple-snail. Two young and blooming maidens lived together at that dread time, like Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, in a remote cottage on the steep (indeed almost perpendicular) ascent of the Bonnetmaker’s Hill. Deprived of friends or support by the pestilence that walked at noonday, they still retained their good looks and healthful aspect, even when the famine had succeeded to the plague. The jaundiced eyes of the famine-wasted wretches around them were instantly turned towards the poor girls, who appeared to thrive so well whilst others were famishing. They were unhesitatingly accused of witchcraft, and had nearly fallen a prey to that terrible charge; for betwixt themselves they had sworn never to tell in words by what means they were supported, ashamed as they felt of the resource to which they had been driven; and resolved, if possible, to escape the anticipated derision of their neighbours on its disclosure. It was only when about to be dragged before their stern inquisitors, that one of the girls, drawing aside the covering of a great barrel which stood in a corner of their domicile, discovered, without violating her oath, that the youthful pair had been driven to the desperate necessity of collecting and preserving for food large quantities of these Limacinoe, which they ultimately acknowledged to have proved to them generous and even agreeable sustenance. To the credit of the times of George Wishart—a glimpse of pre-reforming enlightenment—the explanation sufficed; the young women escaped with their lives, and were even applauded for their prudence.

Alex Salmond is keeping this aspect of pre-Union life very quiet.

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  1. It’s slugs one sometimes has to dissect to identify, I gather. Unfortunately I deleted the trail camera night photo where a slug suddenly appeared on a fallen apple.

  2. I gave up biology when we were asked to kill and dissect the smallest member of our class, but I’m getting into it now.

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