I've just read a news item about Irish snails...like you do while waiting for the supper to cook. Scientists have decided that Irish snails originally came from Iberia about 8,000 years ago...brought by travellers who ate them and maybe even farmed them for food.

Irish snails are not the same as English snails at all...they look the same to me but then I don't study them closely enough to tell the difference...but Irish snails are the same genetically as Iberian snails...hence the scientists conclusion.

Now I did know the Romans ate snails on a regular basis and those huge ones with brown shells are said to be the descendants of the snails the Romans brought with them to England...we have those sort as well so perhaps travellers to and from Britain and Ireland brought a pocketful with them as a sort of snack in case they were peckish...

The thought of poking a slimy creature out of its shell with a bit of sharpened stick and eating it fills me with horror...I don't much care for when I'm eating sardines on toast and find the roe...I sort of prod it and usually give it to a dog.

And as for eating monkey brains when the poor creature isn't even dead..though it has been said that it is a myth actually...then you carry on reading and find people who swear on their Granny's grave that they ate monkey brain while in China. And you can find nasty illustrations of a hole in a table with the monkeys head poking through while the diners use spoons to scoop out a mouthful of brain...

Snails and monkey brain don't seem like essential foodstuffs...not like a loaf of bread perhaps or a plate of potatoes...they appear to be one of those delicacies which are entirely unnecessary and simply eaten for the sake of being seen to be different. Though I suppose if you lived 8,000 years ago treats were probably thin on the ground and a snail might have been thought of the same way we'd like a bar of chocolate.