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snails-msg - 7/3/10


The eating of snails in period. Recipes. Not just the French ate snails. So did the Romans and the Spaniards.


NOTE: See also the files: exotic-meats-msg, seafood-msg, food-sources-msg, eels-msg, peacocks-msg, goat-msg, horse-recipes-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 21:39:42 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - snails and other things.



>> Q: When does the earlist recipe for snails occur?

>I'd like to hear about this. Anyone got any recipes? I have seen canned

>snails in the grocery store, but didn't have any idea how one would cook

>or eat them. I can very well imagine them being served at a medieval

>feast. Although without forks I'm not sure how to eat them. Perhaps you

>were to dig them out with a knife. Or perhaps they were served to the

>table already out of the shells.

>Stefan li Rous


Hello! A few random tidbits for you...


There are 3 recipes for snails in Apicius.


From Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, 1483-1553:

'Then he doused the leaves (and pilgrims) with salt, vinegar, and oil, and,

for refreshment before supper, began to eat.  He had already swallowed five

pilgrims and the sixth lay under a leaf, completely invisible save for his

staff, when Grangousier pointed to the latter.

"Look, Gargantua, that's a snail's horn.  Don't eat it!"

"Why not?  Snails are good this month."'


Hartley mentions snails in 'Food in England' & says the large edible

variety was imported by the Romans.  She also mentions periwinkles -

they're removed from their shells when cooked using a pin.


Also, if you count Whelks as being overgrown 'snails', there are a few

recipes in the Harleian MSS. c. 1450.



renfrow at skylands.net



Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 22:35:04 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - snails and other things.


>> Q: When does the earlist recipe for snails occur?

>I'd like to hear about this. Anyone got any recipes?

>Stefan li Rous


The Goodman of Paris has a snail recipe quoted by M.F.K. Fisher in one

of collections of essays.  Mid 14 th century, and probably quite earlier

than that.





Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 17:52:41 -0500 (CDT)

From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

Subject: SC - A Mixed Bag (So to Speak)


Regarding snails: While I myself haven't seen period recipes for

cooking them I have seen a recipe for a "water" made of snails from

about 1650.  It also calls for a pound (I believe) of earthworms.


Alys Katharine



Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 10:06:07 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Period snails (was Re: SC - Period Beet Recipe)


And it came to pass on 20 Oct 99,, that Laura C. Minnick wrote:

> Are there any period recipes for escargot?

> 'Lainie


Granado (1599) gives 2 recipes for snails, along with a description of

how to find and clean them and when to eat them.  One is for frying

them and the other is for a pottage.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 00:27:41 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: SC - Period snail recipes


These are the only period Spanish recipes for snails that I have seen.

There are none in de Nola.


Source: Diego Granado, _Libro Del Arte De Cozina_, 1599


Translation: Lady Brighid ni Chiarain of Tethba (Robin Carroll-Mann)


DE LOS CARACOLES -- Of the Snails


There are many sorts of snails, and all have four round horns, with a

little head on top: they are lubricous and xxx and without eyes, and

leave a trail where they pass: they have a shell made of stripes, and

there are large ones and small ones, colored ones and white ones: they

are gathered twice in the year, in Autumn and in the Spring: the little

ones are taken in the month of July, and through all the Autumn on the

grape vines and on other herbs: the best ones are those from fennel.



Clean, Purge, and Preserve the Snails


Take the large snails in the month of February through all of May, and

from August until mid-October: in which times the air is temperate:

although to preserve them do not gather them until after the month of

July, and then put them in a spacious and humid habitation, in which

there are bundles or branches of little trees of fennel, broom, and others,

and then let them go where they will, repeatedly cleaning the habitation

of their dung, because bad odors will cause them to die, and when they

have been for all the month of November in this habitation, finding them

closed will be the signal that they have been purged, and then put them

in barrels, or in other vessels: and in this manner in cool places they are

kept all Winter: also, they are found closed, after having been purged

beneath earthen walls, and in other places with holes.



MANERAS -- To Fry Snails, and Cook Them in Diverse Manners


Take the snails in the Spring, and make them boil: remove them from

the shell, and clean them of their filth, and so that they remain larger,

put them in cold water on the fire, having the vessel closed, and giving it

a temperate fire just until it boils, and upon uncovering the vessel the

greater part of the snails will be found out of their shells: those which

are not will be put in hot water.  Then remove them from the shells as

has been said, and put them in a vessel of copper, or of earthenware,

filled with ground salt, and stir them for a quarter of an hour, until the

viscosity comes out: then wash them with many waters: flour them, and

fry them, and serve them with fried parsley, and cloves of cooked

[boiled] garlic, and after frying serve them with green sauce, or other

flavors on top: but if the snails were preserved, boil them: remove them

from the shell, and fry them.



To Make Pottage From Little White Snails


Set the little white snails to soak in tepid water, wash them well of the

dirt or clay, and put them in a vessel with as much tepid water as will

cover two fingers, and make them boil little by little, keeping the vessel

covered: when you see that the snails have come out, add to them oil,

pepper, and salt, cinnamon, saffron, and chopped herbs, and cloves of

garlic, and verjuice, and make it boil for a quarter of an hour, and then

serve them on plates with their broth: and these snails greatly require




CASCARA -- To Make Cakes of Snails Removed from the Shell


Take the snails, well purged, and make them cook in water, in such a

manner that they are well cooked, and remove them from the shell,

taking the best part, and wash them again, and purge them with salt,

and then make them fry with chopped onions, and have ready a tart pan

anointed with cow's butter, with three leaves of very thin pastry, also

anointed with butter between one and another, and the large puff pastry

[tortillon hojaldrado] all around, and upon those is put chopped mint and

marjoram, and raisins, and sprinkle everything with pepper, cloves,

cinnamon, and sugar, and salt, then put in the snails, with an equal

amount of the mixture on top as you put beneath, and sprinkle them

with the same spices.  You can also put a little grated Pinto cheese,

and add a little verjuice, or orange juice, cover it with another two similar

leaves, and some puff-pastry strips on top.  You can cook it in the oven,

or under an earthern pot, serve it hot with sugar and rose water on top.

In this manner you can make a cake, having chopped the snails before

frying them, and on a fast day in place of butter put oil, and in place of

cheese aged walnuts broken and peeled.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 00:47:48 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Period snail recipes


And it came to pass on 21 Oct 99,, that Robin Carroll-Mann wrote:

> There are many sorts of snails, and all have four round horns, with a

> little head on top: they are lubricous and xxx and without eyes, and


Ooops! "xxx" was my place-holder for the word "resualadizos", which I

cannot find in any of my dictionaries.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 07:28:47 -0600

From: "RANDALL DIAMOND" <ringofkings at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Escargot


Found it in Platina.  The darn thing just fell

open to the right page.  Looks pretty much

like Roman cookery.  But I am still interested

in other period sources and different ways

of serving them.   Anyone have a source for

live snails with the big shells like they use in

France?   I would like to try growing my own.


Akim Yaroslavich



Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 11:16:35 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Escargot



> I am quite familiar with Roman fondness for

> snails, but are there any medieval or Renaissance

> recipes in preparing them?


Pretty sure they appear in Le Menagier, and, later, in Digby. Also, I

think there are periwinkle recipes in one of the 14th-century English

sources. Periwinkles are smaller than escargots, and are a marine snail,

but are more like escargots than like, say, whelks.


Adamantius (who has to check for further detail)



Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 13:04:10 -0500 (EST)

From: Robin Carrollmann <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Escargot


On Tue, 21 Mar 2000, RANDALL DIAMOND wrote:

> But I am still interested in other period sources and different ways

> of serving them.


I think Granado has a recipe for snail pie, but the book is at home and I

can't check right now.





Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 18:57:24 -0600

From: Magdalena <magdlena at earthlink.net>

Subject: SC - yet more worms


The Queens Closet Opened



The Admirable and Most Famous Snail Water


   Take a peck of garden shell snails, wash them well

in small beer, and put them in a hot oven till they

have done making noise, then take them out, and wipe

them well from the green froth that is upon them, and

bruise them shells and all in a stone Mortar, then take

a quart of earth worms, scower them with salt, slit

them & wash them well with water from their filth, and

in a stone Mortar beat them to pieces, then lay in the

bottom of your distilled pot Angelica two handfuls, and

two handfuls of Celandine upon them, to which put two

quarts of Rosemary flowers, Bears foot, Agrimony, red

Dock Roots, Bark of Barberries, Betony, Wood Sorrel, of

each two handfuls, Rue one handful; then lay the Snails

and worms on the top of the Herbs and Flowers, then

pour on 3 Gallons of the strongest Ale, and let it

stand all night, in the morning put on 3 ounces of

cloves beaten, six penniworth of beaten Saffron and on

top of the 6 ounces of shaved Harts-horn, then set on

the Limbeck, and close it with a paste, and so recieve

the water by pints, which will be nine in all.  The

first is the strongest, whereof take in the morning 2

spoonfuls in 4 spoonfuls of small Beer, and the like in

the afternoon; you must keep a good Diet and use

moderate excersize to warm the blood.


   This Water is good against all Obstructions

whatsoever. It cureth a Consumption and Dropsie, the

stopping of the Stomach and Liver.  It may be distilled

with milk for weak people and children, with

Harts-tongue and Elecampance.



Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 22:09:50 -0500

From: Daniel Myers <eduard at medievalcookery.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Snails

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


On Feb 10, 2006, at 9:56 PM, Micheal wrote:

> Anyone got a good book on snails in period?


No books, but there's a recipe in Ouverture de Cuisine (France, 1604)

for Snail Pie.


To make snail pies. Take snails that have been well cooked & washed

as appropriate, & cut them largely with a knife, & add nutmeg,

pepper, butter, having been a quarter hour in the oven take four egg

yolks beaten with a little Spanish wine, remove the pie from the

oven, & cast the sauce in the pie, & let it again in the oven for an

"Our Father", & no more.


- Doc



Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2010 22:06:48 -0700 (PDT)

From: wheezul at canby.com

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Snails?


<<< I have a few cans of snails left over from our New Year?s celebrations and

thought that it would be fun to play with them at the cook?s encampment at

AnTir West War.

Does anyone have any recipes (preferably after 1450).


Eduardo >>>


Are you interested in a German (Wecker's) version?  Basically it has

instructions on how to clean and prepare the snail itself and the shell.

The cleaned snails are dried and mixed with salt, pepper, a little clove,

and well chopped parsley. A spoonful of meat stock with a little wine or

vinegar and "a good piece of sweet butter" are put into the cleaned

shells, and then the seasoned snail back in.  It is cooked in a wide flat

"kachel" (better than on the grill it says)in a meat stock over  coals and

with coals heating the top of the dish on a lid or support.  They should

cook as long as it takes to cook as eggs.  They are served hot with a side

brew that contains the filling ingredients and whatever is left from the

cooking poured over the top if you are serving on a plate.  Or you can

serve them in the kachel, which is an earthenware pot of some sort (and

also the word for an oven). One can also optionally keep them warm by

setting them in a pastry shell.


If you are interested and would like, I could attempt to translate the

passage as written.  You can see the transcription on Gloning's page

"Weiter von den Schnecken" in part 4 of Anna Wecker's cookbook.





Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 09:40:05 -0700 (PDT)

From: wheezul at canby.com

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Snails? [More German Recipes]


<<< I have a few cans of snails left over from our New Year?s celebrations and

thought that it would be fun to play with them at the cook?s encampment at

AnTir West War.

Does anyone have any recipes (preferably after 1450).


Eduardo >>>


Hi Eduardo,

I found a few more German snail recipes in Rontzier?s ?Kunstbuch von

Mancherley Essen? (1598).  I'd be interested if Ranvaig found any in

Rumpolt and if these are plagiarized?


Still no garlic, but after seeing this, it seems that the seasoning of the

snails is rather free form.  I do like the idea of a presentation in the



There are two sections, one for large snails, the other for small ones.


Large snails

There are instructions for cleaning.

1.     The first recipe is similar to Wecker's - chopped parsley, butter,

pepper and served in the shell ? salted at the table.

2.     The snails are mixed with rosemary and butter, and then cooked in a pot

with venison stock, cut lemons, peppers, grated bread, butter and stewn

with salt and pepper at service.

3.     Lime, majoram, butter, pepper and whole mace (one assumes same prep as


4.     Fry/bake snails in butter, lay them over pomegranate [seeds] and pour

wine over them.  Force pomegranate through a hair cloth ?  serve when sour

enough strewn with salt and pepper.

5.     Chopped chervil, salt, pepper, served in shell with stock and wine



Small Snails

1.     Boil, wash with salt and water, put in pot with milk, fresh butter and

pepper. (Can put a bit of water on them)

2.     Fried in butter, add mace, pepper and a bit of vinegar, strew with salt

at service.

3.     Fried with cut apples and onions in butter ? add pepper or strew it on

at service.

4.     Snails stewed with added wine and fresh butter, plus pepper and ground

ginger. Strew with ginger and salt on service.


So many options!




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org