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History Cookbook: Milk-fed Snails

This recipe is in category Romano-British
About this recipe
Healthiness : (411 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: You will need patience and a strong stomach.
Preparation Time: 2 days
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Number of servings: Depends on number of snails

In Roman times snails were considered a delicacy. However it is not the snails themselves you may wish to avoid but the preparation.

In Roman times the snails were kept on land surrounded by water to prevent escape. They were fed on milk, wine must and spelt wheat. For the final fattening they were kept in jars with air holes with a milk and salt mixture. Slaves would regularly clean away the snail excrement.

When they became too fat to get back in their shells they were fried in oil and served with liquamen (a fish sauce) mixed with wine.
  • 6 edible snails per person
  • 2 pints of milk
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon of liquamen (similar to Thai fish sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula.
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Clean the snails and remove the membranes
  2. Put in a vessel with half the milk and salt for one day
  3. Transfer to a fresh vessel containig the remaining milk for one more day, cleaning away the excrement every hour
  4. When the snails are fattened, so they can no longer return to their shells, fry them in oil
  5. Serve with a dressing made from liquamen (similar to Thai fish sauce) and wine
Milk-fed Snails - print view  Milk-fed Snails - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
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Name: Wukkiwhnf 15th February 2018
i like snails
Name: Heidiastop 12th January 2017
Hello. magnificent job. I did not expect this. This is a fantastic story. Thanks!
Name: Mandab 2nd July 2015
Actually snails are delicious. Wouldn't have thought it until I tried them at a French restaurant (in my city) my French club went to.
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