Our class is going to France, and I can hardly stand it. We are scheduled to leave Sunday but I am leaving this afternoon with a classmate who is from Paris. We'll stay at her parent's house for a couple of nights then meet the class in Dijon (yes the home of the mustard) for dinner Sunday night. This is my first time to the country and I can't wait to order "Freedom Fries." Of course, I joke.
We will have several lectues at a food university on the topic of wine in the Burgundy region. And while few things could make me happier than that - there is one highlight of particular importance for me. We will visit an escargot farm. Yes. Snails. I love them and have loved them for many of my 34 years. I might have eaten them the moment I cut teeth had they been available from Gerber but my earliest memories are of the special stainless steel plates with six cups for the individual escargots served in the shell at Stephenson's Old Apple Orchard in Kansas City, Missouri. It was my special request whenever my special birthday dinner came around every July from the year I turned eight. Most kids went to Chuckey Cheese (sic? likely) but I was a little odd in my taste as a kid and didn't much care for pizza. Besides, after a pizza all that's left is grease from pepperoni and cheap cheese. Once you've successfully removed your appetizer from its shell, eaten the fruit of your labor and tossed the shell, there is still the plateful of garlicky butter with a bit of chopped parsley floating in the prescious fluid. By twelve, I was an expert at sopping. You take one of the famous Stephensons light rolls and dip bottom end first into one of the concave snail holsters and press. Over conversation you patiently wait for the roll to spring back up and your bite is ready. The roll is filled with goodness and the bite needs to be taken with care so as not to squeeze and release all the hard-earned escargot spiked garlic-butter down your chin and onto your lap. I've done it, and it's not pretty. You have to pay attention and remember to thoroughly enjoy every bit because every time I have escargots I never think I get enough. It is one food I could founder on and there is a reason I know there are six on a plate at Stephenson's. I would dole them out like a drill sergeant in order to ensure no one was short-changed- particularly me.
So, I will keep everyone updated on the snail farm. I think they're free range but you can be certain I will fight the good fight for the rights of sails everywhere if I hear of any injustice inflicted on my beloved escargots.