A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Why do snails....

Post 1


Why do snails dissolve and bubble if you tip salt on them........

Why do snails....

Post 2


Basically, the snail dehydrates.

The chemical reason is osmosis. This is a process where water is drawn from a weak solution into a strong one (errr, I think). So if you tip salt onto a snail, which is by nature a wet creature, this makes a very very strong salt-and-water solution on the outside of the snail, and this draws out all the unsalty water on the inside of the snail. Result: it shrivels up and dies.

So all in all, this is not a very nice thing to do to snails. Slugs, on the other hand, have got it coming to them... smiley - smiley

Why do snails....

Post 3


It may in deed not be nice to do this to snails, but it is done EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! smiley - sadface

You see, when ever you eat a snail, if you do, it has been farmed by a snail-farmer or caught in the wild (yes, there is such a thing as a snail-hunter! Seriously!) and then taken to be butchered.

From live snail to food, the snail goes through the following process:
It is placed on a surface of salt where it is to 'crawl' (slither?) for a few hours. During this time, the creature is dehydrated, following the above mentioned principles of osmosis. This process removes the slime from the creature and slowly kills it.
Then it is taken from the salt-bed and has it's house (shell? It's house in my country!) removed manually. (Some claim that new technology can provide automated house-removers for snail-cookeries, but I dunno...) The house is then placed in a detergent solution to remove any excess snail and ready it for snail-serving.
The snail itself is boiled, the recipe for the boilingstock may vary, but wine is one popular choice. Then the snail is replaced into its clean house and a butter mixture (often butter, salt, garlic and parsley) is added to seal off the shell.
The entire portion is put into an oven and baked until the butter has melted. (Obviously the snails house should be placed in a way preventing the molten butter from running out!)
Finally the snail, by now very dead and un-raw, is served with fresh bread and devoured by gastronauts of some kind. For this purpose, a specialised snail-fork has been developed to hold the snails house while picking out the hot creature.
Bon appetit!

Mind you, if this same process, mainly the salt-killing, was applied to any larger animal in modern society, people would go nuts in rage. But as snails do not wince, they are largely ignored.
This in the same day and age where people ralley for religious butchering-methods such as cutting the throats of cows or pigs. At least they die within minutes...

Why do snails....

Post 4


There are some experiences in life where I wonder about the first guy who did it, because he'd have sounded like a dangerous idiot.

"Hey, let's let that dog just, y'know, stay in the camp. We can stroke its fur and feed it, and it can guard us. I bet I can get it to sit down when I tell it to."

"Hey, there's that slimy thing in the shell... that looks tasty."

"Hey, my imaginary friend said you should tell him how brilliant he is every Sunday, and not eat pigs even though they're really tasty, and always have a hat on, and not bang other dudes, and a bunch of other stuff and I'll kill you if you disagree."

History is full of these things...

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Why do snails....

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