In Sicily, Snails on Your Lettuce, Feathers on Your Eggs

January 22, 2011

The roving veggie peddlers who park outside the house and bay till they’re hoarse have lettuces so fresh they crawl with snails. You tear off a giant leaf and there they are—antennae waving in terror.  I suppose if I were a brave Sicilian, I’d boil them up and bolt them down with some lemony oil. (Old Sicilian Proverb: You never get enough of kissing a sweetheart or eating snails.) Instead I toss them onto the terracotta roof across the alley and hope they’ll live a day longer.

Produce in Sicily is so fresh it comes with extras. Mushrooms with the roots and soil that fed them…

Sicilian Mushrooms, copyright Jann Huizenga

Tomatoes with their umbilical cord…

Sicilian Plum Tomatoes, copyright Jann Huizenga

Oranges with their branches…

Sicilian Oranges, copyright Jann Huizenga

Eggs with mommy’s feathers.

Fresh Sicilian Eggs with Feather, copyright Jann Huizenga

I HEART my fruit & veggie hawker.

Roving Veggie Hawker in Ragusa Ibla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

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13 comments to In Sicily, Snails on Your Lettuce, Feathers on Your Eggs

  • So TRUE! One of the best things about life here in Siciy is the FRESHNESS of everything. I know where everything comes from and it is almost entirely local (even avocaodos can grow in Sicily!). Plenty of tiny snails, too, cute little critters, don’t know if they survive in the yard.

  • sandee wheeler

    These grocery store veggies, bought on a snowy Michigan day, are never going to cut it anymore!!! I am now thinking they must be at least a week old!!

    • Jann

      Grow sprouts on your windowsill? At least they’ll be fresh. Otherwise, how long does is take to truck stuff from Mexico or CA to snowy Michigan, unload it all and shelve it–a week or two? 🙁

  • Susan Ploplys

    google “snail lettuce” and you will see all of the photos and videos you might care to see of snails on lettuce. Bon Appetit!

  • I have a veggie hawker too! 🙂
    He goes a step further though and lets you just lower a basket down to the street with some money. He gathers the items you shout down at him, and after a few seconds you can haul your basket back up filled with produce and your change. Fresh veggies without having to change out of your pjs!

    • Jann

      Haley, that is really my problem–that when they come hawking by, sometimes quite early, I’m not decently dressed to appear in public. They do not come into the lane in the back of my house, where I could lower a basket, so I have to go out the front door. Some old ladies here still lower their baskets, too, but I don’t see that as much as I used to. It’s so cute, and I hope the custom never disappears.

  • I was definitely not enamoured with the vendor who parked outside our apartment window in Tropea at the crack of dawn and started hawking his truckload of artichokes with the aid of loudspeaker!

    You have given me a distinct case of vegetable envy here.

  • Cathy

    LOL I was looking forward to a pic of the snail in terror too!!! And I used to LOVE getting fresh eggs from my neighbor when he kept chickens, no matter what they came with 🙂

    And once again I am jealous — how many times can I say that 🙂 Right now, I don’t know that it’s more due to you having the fresh veggies brought to your doorstep or the fact that its WARM enough there to HAVE someone stand there with fresh veggies on your doorstep!!!

    However– there is the fact that I can have outdoor refridgeration lol… I just brought in my containers of homemade turkey broth I had stuck out in the snow to cool!

    Needless to say, spending a winter in a warm climate is on my bucket list.. someday… and Sicily looks to be the perfect place!

    Take care Jann!
    PS-no new pics of your house lately… 🙁 I love seeing the progress…

  • Hey, I was looking forward to a picture of the snail! 🙂 I had to laugh at your description of “antennae waving in terror!” You’ve got to love fresh produce, with or without the snails!

  • Fresh and local, the only way to go.
    I get eggs from a neighbor’s chickens. . . often with a bit more than just feathers attached to the shells. Ahem. She instructs me to leave them be, don’t clean them at all bc it breaks the “natural” protective layer & the eggs won’t last as long. I listen, mostly.

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