Snail Pie: A Warning from History

Concluding, for now, our series of snailrelated content, here is a recipe and a stern warning from Anna Wecker. It’s been a long day.

Snails from the Felix Platter collection of drawings, courtesy of wikimedia commons

A pastry of snails

Prepare the snails as they should be. Take them out of the water and swing them like lettuce in a clean cloth. Then place them in a platter or bowl, season with plenty of pepper and a bit of cloves, and mix it well.

When the pastry case is ready, put in salt and fresh butter and close it when the case hardens. In the meantime, prepare fresh meat broth with enough finely cut parsley and add sweet butter to it. If the snails are not strongly peppered, add more (pepper) to the broth as it boils. Pour it into the pastry as always, and let it bake half an hour.

Otherwise there is no better way to prepare them than putting them back into their shells and placing them in a deep pan, boiled with a broth made as is described above. You must take it off the fire so that it is not too hot and pour on the broth and boil it about as long as one boils hard eggs.

There is little useful about snails. They mostly serve (as food for) lechers. That is why young people should not eat too much (of them), otherwise great harm can come of it as I know to tell from many examples.

In 1598, Anna Wecker, the widow of a respected physician, published her Köstlich New Kochbuch. The first such work known to be authored by a woman, it would become a bestseller and remain in print for a century. I am working on a full translation and hope to turn it into a book once it is finished.

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