The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 01.31.04


The end of food as we know it?

There's not going to be much left to eat soon, some say. Researchers have been hard at work to find all manner of bad things in our favorite foods.

I'm all for food safety and I appreciate warnings about potential danger but I just can't help wonder if there are some conspiracies afoot.

In fact, I wonder if food terrorism is on the horizon. Beef, salmon, and chicken have all been the subject of world concern as contaminants and viruses have been found in their carcasses and feed supply.

Heck, even our water supplies are in question and there are lobbyists who lobby for and against every development across the food industry. They don't like hog production and claim bovine production produces so much methane that its contributing to ozone depletion. They fight against aquaculture and condemn antibiotics.

Some oppose irradiation and genetically engineered foods while others promote the benefits of such practices. Industries pit themselves against each other and I suspect it has less to do with food safety than sales.

Its man against beast, pig against cow and fish against sheep. Its bottled water versus tap water and butter versus margarine.

Even traditional wine producers negate every effort to improve corking methods while soda giants figure a way to get into the classroom.

There is fair trade coffee and that which is supposedly unfair. There is albacore and dolphin-friendly tuna and there is responsible foie gras.

Cripes, there are even organic snails on the market these days.

What's next? Politically correct celery? I suspect if you run enough tests on a turnip you will discover all kinds of nasty things.

Listen, I'm not against public safety, nor am I against the discovery of true sources of potential harm. Its just that too much information can be harmful to ones well-being. too. There is too much confusion in the marketplace and consumers really do not know where to turn for reliable information.

In the end, we all have to eat and at some point we take risks. We always have and we always will. I'd venture to say it was a lot more dangerous to ones health while hunting buffalo on the high plains than it is to buy a good steak at the local butcher. Inexplicably, we are driven by hunger and a man has got to eat, ya know?

Just to exhibit how ridiculous things are getting, check out this web offering I found. There are 116 types of edible snails, and the Helix Pomatia Linne is the unanimously proclaimed Number 1 in terms of flavor and texture. Nicknamed the "Land Lobster," it exhibits a similar texture to lobster, with an earthier flavor.

These escargots are 100 percent natural, 100 percent organic, low-carb (Atkins friendly) and have very high nutritive levels. This tin of 'Petit' size escargot contains 48 snails and is available for only $14.99 U.S. funds. Taxes and shipping not included.

Food writers warning: Eating snails contributes to the irresponsible use of garlic and depletes available parsley sources.

Escargot A La Bourguignonne

1 c soft butter
1/4 c up finely chopped parsley
2 shallots, finely chopped
clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy
32 canned French snails
Snail shells

1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.

2. Combine the butter, parsley, shallots, garlic, and brandy in a bowl and blend well. <> 3. Place a snail in each shell and fill the cavity with the seasoned butter. Place on a baking pan and bake for twelve minutes. Serve hot, as an appetizer, on individual snail dishes or on small folded napkins on plates, to keep the shells from sliding about.