Snails seem to have been part of the human diet even since prehistoric times, given the evidence of the many shells found in the cave dwellings of early man. Later, snails also figured among the foods of the Greeks and Romans from the fourth century BC onwards. Apicius Marcus fattened snails in milk, to be fried later in oil.

In medieval France, snails were stock-piled in convents and brought out in times when food was scarce. During the revolution, sailors from the ports around Charente would take barrels full of snails on board with them, to be eaten like fresh meat. According to some writers, the Petit Gris snail, found today in the West Indies, originally came from Charente, brought from France by Spanish or Portuguese seamen.



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