A Note on Snails

How come those snails don’t have shells? Those are much prettier!

Snails aren’t frugal – what do you mean “in a frugal fashion?”


We could answer your question, or we could simply let Anthony Bourdain do our talking for us (we listened to him anyway):

“I could lie to you. I could tell you to use fresh snails, implying that we [at Les Halles], of course, use only fresh ones at the restaurant. The truth? I don’t know any restaurant, have never in twenty-eight years seen any U.S. restaurant- no matter how good or prestigious- use fresh snails. Oh, a lot of them have snail shells, but they stuff them with snails out of a can. I’m sure someone uses fresh. Somewhere. But let’s face it, even if you could get fresh snails (and I would have no idea where to send you), by the time you’ve had a good look at the things in their living, natural glory, by the time you’ve dug them out of their shells for the first time… you’re likely not going to want to eat them.

So do as the pros do: Find the best, priciest, preferably French canned snails (though the Taiwanese ones have been fooling the French chefs for years) and use those.”

We read this just as were going over his book, and thought nothing of it. Interesting, yes, but there’s very little chance of finding French canned snails where we live.

Until one day last week at TJ Maxx.

It’s fairly embarrassing to announce the less-than-prestigious pedigree of our escargots, but if we’re sticking to our guns on the frugalfoodies thing, then this is some good advice. If you really like escargots, keep your eyes peeled in the gourmet food section at TJ Maxx – you may just find a tasty treat.

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