The Garden Incident

Today I’d like to share a small incident that occurred yesterday. I didn’t really know what to make out of it, maybe it was sad, maybe it was funny, or maybe it was something else. I’ll leave it to you (the reader) to decide.

As the Honey Bee and I were leaving for a dinner outside yesterday evening, we saw an unknown lady picking something in the community garden. A couple of things to point out here:

-The garden is just a large space with overgrown plants, bushes and shrubbery. No one really uses it except the pet dogs that live in the community.

-The primary door to enter our community has started to stick recently, probably due to the change in weather, and unless an effort is made to physically pull or push the door shut, it remains ever so slightly open.

In any case although it was strange to see an actual person, even more so an outsider, in the garden I figured she was just picking flowers or leaves and didn’t really pay much attention. My first thought was the American TV show Extreme Cheapskates which is about people who live on a tremendously tight budget by doing what most people would consider extreme. It brought to mind an episode about a mother who takes her children to a public garden to pick certain types of grass, leaves, etc. to make a salad for dinner.

As we walked past her, the Honey Bee looked closer and gasped! As it Snlturns out, she wasn’t picking flowers, but snails! After recovering from the shock, we tried to be polite and not stare. We didn’t know how to feel.

On the one hand, she was probably living on a tight budget, so good for her if she figured out how to get a free dinner.  In fact, snails are apparently good for you and are even considered a delicacy in France and Spain. On the other hand I felt bad for the snails. The poor fellows were just chilling in the garden on a sunny day and the next thing they know they are being stuffed into a plastic bag, ready to be boiled and eaten.

By the time we got back after dinner, the strange lady was gone and with her most of the garden’s larger inhabitants (the snails). She did leave behind some of the smaller ones though.


PS: For those of you considering trying snail, let me share my experience. I tried it at a restaurant in a small sea-side town in France a couple of years ago. It’s not half bad, but not particularly great either. I don’t think I’d ever try it again, unless it was for a bet, or to prove a point. They are simply boiled and presented to you, with shell and all. You pry them out of their shell using a thin, long fork like utensil, dip them in a special sauce, and eat them. Buen provecho! (Bon Appétit in Spanish)