To the first person who ate snails – thank you

We were having lunch with a mutual friend who was supposed to head off for a work trip. Thanks to errant quarantine rule-breakers, however, she is rethinking that decision as she will have to stay at a quarantine centre upon her return and pay for it too.

One of the first things Twentytwo13 executive editor Graig Nunis said to me when we met was, “Eh, where’s your article, ah?”

I haven’t been out of the house much, apart from grocery shopping. The couple of times I went to the malls on weekends, I was scared by how many people were out and about as if it was a normal day, so I don’t have much to share.

The next morning the thought played in my head as I was gardening – pulling weeds, pruning plants and killing snails!! Yuck!

These slimy, hard-shelled, pests must be destroyed. They lay their little tiny baby snails under the soil and they eat up everything from the root until they grow strong enough to head out into the world. Again … Yuck!

Well, maybe not so yuck because I was looking at the brown shell in my hand and thought “hmmm I haven’t had siput sedut masak lemak in a while”.

Yes, a different kind of snail but my brain works that way because it is connected directly to my stomach. You can have all my secrets, just give me the cookie!

Back to the snails. Those ugly things actually have yummy chewy flesh that you have to ‘sedut’ (suck) out, and when it’s cooked in creamy coconut broth with a slight spice hit from the chillies, it is the bombest of the bombs.

The French are famous for their buttery, garlicky and herb-filled escargots. I have also heard of someone frying them over high heat with dried chillies and condiments – I got to try that.

Cooking website, Cookpad, has 198 recipes for snails, although some are for cookies which are shaped like snail shells. There is the Great British Chef and his various styles of cooking snails and of course, we Asians like the lemak style.

Reading all these recipes made me wonder “who started eating snails?”

Who would look at these garden pests, see the soft slimy boneless flesh thinking “this would make great yum”…and finding out they were right!

So I called upon the ancient guidance of Uncle Google and a 2014 article by BBC was the first to pop up.

Now I have this image in my head, some 30,000 years ago, someone, probably the least favourite child, was “given the opportunity” to be the tester and the dude didn’t die from eating it and actually liked it.

So the whole tribe started eating it and now we all have that innocent person to thank for the wonderful thing that is Siput Sedut Masak Lemak.

Whoever you are, thank you and Graig, stop putting nonsense in my head … and here’s the article.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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