Thursday 27 December 2012

The Last Of The Summer Slime ("It's the year of the Slug!")

This years Potato Plot spread with dung and straw.  Don't mention the weeds.

Yes folks it's official.  2012 was the wettest summer (year) on record.  It's been officially called the: 'Year Of The Slug'.  Look it up on the old t'web and Tinternet (northern viewers will understand)  and type 'Year Of The Slug', if you don't believe me.  It makes you want to write a song or even paraphrase Al Stewart's 'Year Of The Cat' doesn't it?

"On a morning from a boggy allotment

In the countryside what's full of slime

You go strolling through the cabbages  like...

In the year of the slug.."

May be not.

Here's the real version.


  1. If I remember rightly, you used to eat slugs, didn't you, Dave?

    If so:

    * Are they as bland tasting as what I imagine?

    * Do they have any kind of nutritional value?

    * Do you still eat them, Dave?

  2. Hi Pat, Hope you had a great Christmas. Ours was exceedingly quiet but peaceful.

    I believe you can eat slugs Pat. Although raw one's can carry Meningitis. You can also eat worms. But I don't think I will try them. A slug is just a snail without an home.

    Here in Bantry Bay they harvest Mussels and I think they are very similar to the snail feeding on vegetation and filtering algae.

    There is a liver fluke snail which destroys the liver in cattle. So we farmers inject against it. There's supposed to be a Spanish slug invader that's been causing havoc in Southern England gardens this year.

    Thanks Pat.

  3. Never knew slugs were so dangerous, Dave. Good job you've lost your taste for them then.

  4. The French actually breed snails for eating, so do the Spanish, but I think they're a bit different from your common or gagden variety. Ate them once, in a very up-market restaurant, as a starter, 6 of them on a silver platter, each covered in a sauce, so I don't know what they actually taste like, all I tatsed was the sauce.

    And whelks are only like sea snails, and they're served in vinegar as a delicacy at lots of seaside resorts. We call them buckies, and boiled they're just like chewing what I would imagine an elastic band would be like, no taste really.

    Mussels we don't eat locally, there's lots of them, but they tend to come from near sewage outfalls; and although the sewage pipes have long gone, the stigma seems to live on. Local ones on our side of the Solway tend to be only small, about 2" long, but there's a bed on the Scotch side has bigger ones up to 4" in length.

    Damp and raw here today, dull and breezy, but not actually raining.
    Raggy cat came in late, back kitchen window cill this morning, fell asleep on my computer chair, I've been out a couple of hours, now in front of fire. Again.

  5. Either way (with or without the garlic), I don't think I could 'stomach' the snails/slugs, Cumbrian.

  6. I suppose you can eat most kinds of living creatures Pat, if they are properly cooked. I have even seen a television programme about the Royal Marines cooking worm omelettes and there are books with 'road-kill'recipes. I think modern man seems to have detached them self from the fact that somebody needs to physically kill and prepare the food before it can be ate.


  7. Hi Cumbrian, Thanks for that. Just been reading one of my gardening books. There are over eighty snails in the British Isles. They all belong to the Mollusc family, along with the mussels and sea snails. There are quite a few slugs also with grand names like 'Sowerby's slug, 'Netted' slug, 'Dusky' slug and the 'Budapest' slug. There biggest enemy is drought. Slugs love to eat decaying and living vegetation. That's why they are so keen on allotment lettuces and cabbages. Mussels are excellent for filtering water after a major oil slick. I suppose they all have there place in the natural chain? I will eat prawns and cockles but I don't fancy eating the Mussels.

  8. Yes, most living creatures form part of somebodys diet somewhere in the world.
    Just trying to think of all the unusual foods I've tried. The snails mentioned above; squirrel pie once at a pub eatery in Rye, Sussex; babequed somethings on a small stick bought from an open-air pavement vendor in Bangkok whilst walking back to the hotel at about 0200, cost the equivalent of 6p, dunno what they were, he didn't speak English and I don't speak Thai, but the same bloke was deep-frying battered locusts for same price; horse in a Berlin restaurant, I didn't know it was horse until I'd finished, I can't read German, it was ordered by pointing at somebodys plate, it looked (and tatsed) like a nice steak; jellied eels self-caught and self-jellied (does that count as unusual?); smoked shark stomach in Dominican Republic; testicles, also Dominican Republic, dunno what beast donated them, about the size of a golf ball; curried goat can't remember where; tripe, my dad liked it so we got it occasinally in my younger days, haven't seen it for years, there used to be a tripe shop in Workington; oyster (only 1) in France, a fishmonger was offering them as a promotion, dunno why people rave about them, tasteless and about the nearest thing to what I imagine swallowing a whole slug un-chewed would be like, if I never have another it'll be soon enough; octopus stew in Fuertaventura; periwinkles, a small version of sea snails, boiled and prised out of their shells with a pin, about 100 needed to fill a teaspoon, picked locally, for some reason they were acceptable to eat locally picked if the mussels weren't, they came from the same area, but as kids somebody (obviously a sadist) told us they were OK to eat, so we had to try them (once)

    And of course 34 years of my first wifes cooking.

    Never tried the worm omlettes, but I believe they're fairly standard fare for British forces on survival training; slugs don't hold any attraction either, whatever they're called; but I really should try frogs legs, maybe next time in France I'll try and find some, and somebody who speaks enough English to tell me how to cook and serve them.

  9. Thanks for going to the trouble of writing that down for us Cumbrian. You seem to have ate a wide range of animals.

    I think a future blog topic could be:

    "What's the worst meal you have ate?"

    I told you about my Little Chef food poisoning in Norfolk, didn't I?

    Another tale is when Pat and myself went to Glastonbury Festival in 1989 and we went to this makeshift village for breakfast (eight in the morning) and it was a choice between 2 pits of Scrumpy cider each or a fiver for a paper plate full of chicken with blue bottles crawling all over it. There was a queue 20 strong + waiting for it. Me and Pat decided to get 2 pints of Scrumpy cider each. We called it a 'liquid breakfast.'

    I have hate goat here in Ireland. Peter our kid goat ended up being served up for Sunday dinner. We weren't so keen. Somebody said we should have had him castrated first. Sad thing is fifty percent (if not more) of all farm animals are male. So the only thing you can do with them is eat them.

    I have heard of the British Forces services worm omelettes for survival training and initiation: going in a rough pub and ordering a pint of beer,drinking it down in one and walking out the door without paying for it.

    I think you can't beat farm animals for meat. I would put roast beef at the top of the list.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  10. Think I'd have gone for the scrumpy liquid breakfast as well, a slightly less chance of ending up with the skitters (or is it crazy shits now)

    Yes, goats, I beleive they were the first (or one of the first) animals to be domesticated, but seem to be out of fashion at the present time; dunno why, they seem to thrive on the roughest barren land. I know the milk is high quality and good for cheese making, but not sure about what sort of carcase they have for meat; although a competent chef could probably make something good from it. I know a school friend who became a butcher served part of his apprenicship at a slaughter house, and at that time, there was a few ethnic minority butchers (Jewish??) who bought goats for meat, and came to the premises to say a prayer for the animal before he despatched them. Loads of goats on Fuertaventura, but I never see goat on the hotel menu, maybe only for domestic comsumption; I know they make a lot of cheese with the milk, but as you point out, 50% of births will be male, so there must have a goat butchery industry. Or a dog food factory.

    Difficult to decide my list-topping meat, agree a nice piece of roast beef would be up there, but lamb I like as well, and as you say, there's not much will beat a bit of properly-prepared home-fed ham.

    I forgot to include whale meat, bought from a market in Bergen, a few years ago, I think even the Norweigens have stopped (or heve been stopped) whaling now.
    Had a friend was a chef on a whaler, he was good with whale meat (obviously) He carried a few pigs to vary the diet, and one of his specialities was a sausage made of mixed pork and whale meat half & half - 1 pig and 1 whale.

    Stopped raining but damp and windy.
    Raggy cat asleep in front of fire, its got more sense than a lot of people I know.

  11. There's nothing like a rock festival or a service station cafe for getting ripped of and ill, Cumbrian.

    Love the picture of the Jewish people praying for the condemned animals.

    I have issues with Halal meat, but the powers that be keep quiet about that. If a British or Irish butcher was carrying out the ritual killing of animals they would do something about that though, wouldn't they?

    Goat is OK but it's not beef or lamb or ham. I suppose it's OK if you spice it up enough.

    I bet the whaler was singing that Vera Lynn song:

    "Whale meat again."

    Sorry. Couldn't resist that one Cumbrian.

    Blowing a gale here tonight. So it may be some time before the old computer thingamajig broadband is working again. Hopefully it quickly passes over. I hate the Atlantic gales and storms. Sometimes find myself praying to God for it to go away and trouble somebody else. I am joking.

    Raggy cat is one cool character. Do you remember the cartoon: 'Top Cat'?


  12. Don't know exactly what halal meat is, but I guess it's something to do with ritual slaughter, as you say, if UK butchers tried it I'm sure some authority would have something to say.
    Remember my dad telling me, he was part of the "Forgotten Army", 6 years in Burmah, and associated with the Gurkahs; they had to kill their own meat, and their standard issue was a live goat which was blessed then had its head removed by one of them with the traditional gurkah knife/machete (there's a name for it but I can't remember), it had to be done in one swipe, and the goat often stood for a few minutes headless before it collapsed. Must have been some spectacle.

    "Whale meet again" got a smile, sure Vera Lynn would be amused.

    We've got your gales now, pretty strong and increasing, but just a little rain in it.

    Yes I remember Top Cat, Beeny the Ball and Spook were 2 of his partners in crime, they led Officer Dibble a fine dance.

    Raggy cat been out briefly, now resplendant back in front of fire after milk and biccies. We're spoiling that cat. But it's going out at bed-time, gale or not.

  13. If I see another snail,
    See another set of shitty and dirty dog paw prints on the kitchen floor and experience another flare up of my knackered arthritic big toe in a pair of wet wellies. I shall scream like violet elizabeth


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