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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Escargot


I've written from time to time of the olden days, when I was the controller of a subsidiary of a division of, etc. Before that we were just a little manufacturing company with a unique product and a lot of international business. We even had a foreign subsidiary, of which we had to divest ourselves before the first company that purchased us would make the purchase.

That subsidiary sale became the subject of an IRS “Committee” audit, a look back audit, in which they would audit four years back, as customary, and three more years before that if the slightest thing came up. I sent the time and motion engineer to find new digs for the duration and gave the auditors the office next to mine. I sent in gallons of coffee, met daily to answer questions and even cancelled my vacation that summer. My boss, who handled the sale, never set foot in my wing of the building, and I never visited his end while the auditors were in the building. But, I digress. Oh, yes, there was no finding against us, either.

International business. International customers. Foreign reps and brokers. I enjoyed knowing almost all of them. I remember our English rep telling me he scolded his little girl for running across the grass and leaving footprints. Our Swedish rep was extremely handsome, and knew it. His shirts were beautifully tailored and close fitting. His suits were always a cut beyond anything I saw in the states. Our German rep was so proper, our Italian rep always a flirt. Our Japanese rep one of the most interesting men I have known. His name was Kay.

If I needed to call Kay I had to call at ten or eleven at night, to catch him in his office at ten or eleven the following day. We communicated mostly by cable. Kay and his wife had no children, but he had adopted a Chinese son, who he regarded highly. He trained the young man to inherit his business. Kay’s description of his son’s wedding was a delight. Everything was red, Kay explained. “You know how the Chinese love red.”

The entire management staff took Kay to dinner one evening to celebrate the launch of a new product. My boss, who was the president of the company, had reservations made at The Top of the Town, a restaurant in the round on top of the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland. It was a very long meal; many involved loved to dine.

Near the beginning of the meal some were enjoying an appetizer of escargot. I passed. Kay eventually insisted I try just one. I could not bear the thought of swallowing a snail. I demurred. These many years later the scene would not have occurred, but back then I was a single mother who valued her job, and still could not bring myself to accept the escargot.

My boss, directly across the table, had “You must do this” in his eyes and above my smile I know mine said I cannot. He put the little black thing in a spoon, tipped in two shells of butter and garlic sauce and handed it over.

I never felt the snail go down. International trade was saved.




31 comments:

  1. Hilarious! David hates escargot, but I love to eat them with butter/garlic sauce. Yummy.

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  2. Oooh, I haven't ever eaten one, but I guess to save International trade you gotta do what you gotta do.

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  3. There are not many things that scare me in this world, but snails do, they terrify me. To eat one would do me in, I'd have fainted on the spot and caused an international incident.

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  4. I still haven't opened the can of snails... okay, escargot.... that I bought a couple of weeks ago. Not because I don't want to but I have to prepare the butter sauce, wash the shells, heat up the oven... "bake" the little suckers... oops... snails.... and most meals I make take a whole lot less time... not even considering that these would just be an appetizer.... so... I'll fix them soon. And I'll kick... nudge.... Bill under the table to slow down and save me some... and think of you ;-)

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  5. I can sympathize. I've had snails a couple of times. They were OK for a lark but not something I would ever think to order. Same with oysters. I was made to eat a raw oyster once though no reputations were at risk.

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  6. So I guess you never tried another one. Oh, the things we do for men and money.

    Great story, Joanne.

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  7. I've had escargot a few times...but then I met a few live snails, so I decided to give up the appetizer.

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  8. I always, always wonder if people who claim to like escargot actually just love the butter and garlic. Would they eat snails without the accompanying sauce? C'mon, those of you who indulge, tell me the truth!

    Kudos to you Joanne, for eating that dang thing. I'm afraid I would have cried.

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  9. I enjoy a wide variety of foods. I am willing to try new things. I would have passed on the escargot too. No amount of coercion will ever make me put one in my mouth. I do not want to eat bees, earthworms, grasshoppers, crickets, any embryo ( that includes fowl and unborn lamb), or a fish that still has its head looking at me. I have eaten frog legs and they taste good but I will not eat them if I know what I am getting. You are braver than I am.

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  10. Love the cake.
    When in France my travelling mate had snails one night for tea, I gave it a big miss but the amount of snails my Drummy eats I guess I eat them indirectly in her eggs.
    Merle.....................

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  11. I've had them once and wasn't overly impressed. I think that was the best way you consumed that one, plenty of things to mask the taste!

    betty

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  12. People must have been very hungry to try eating things like snails and oysters and internal organs of animals. I hope I am never that hungry.

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  13. The cake is a stunner. Snails? Not for me. My one and only trial was garlic and butter laced (like yours). Garlic I love, butter I am fond of. Hold the snail.

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  14. That is a gorgeous cake.

    I think his name was probably spelled Kei instead of Kay. I had my mother try escargot for the first time a few years ago when we went on the Alaskan Cruise. I didn't tell her or my aunt what it was. I told her to try it first. She did. When I did tell her, she said, "Oh... now I see why the French like this so much. It's delicious!"

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  15. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to eat escargot either. I don't think I could even if my boss insisted.
    That dragon wedding cake is stunningly gorgeous. So well made.

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  16. I shall try escargot someday. After all, how long can I maintain a prejudice against eating creatures that leave mucous trails when they move? There is a French Restaurant nearby where we dine occasionally because I love their onion soup, and maybe, maybe, I'll work up my courage and order escargot. I'm only a boy of 65 and have plenty of adventurous spirit left in me.

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  17. Hari Om
    Joanne's very own PRETTY WOMAN moment!!! YAM xx

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  18. Your courage is beyond dragon's... even in cake form. I've faced down many fears in life, whining mightily the entire time, I might add; but the fear of ingesting a snail far supercedes that of letting down international business relations, lol.

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  19. The things we do to save our bosses hides.

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  20. Well done you. Have you had one since?

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  21. Bravo, Joanne! There is at the moment an invasion of what is known as Spanish Snails -- they are very large and I have found 4 so far on my kitchen floor early in the morning before the sun comes up. This very morning there was the biggest one yet -- all curled up. Usually I get a large section of paper towel and scoop it up and throw it in the bin -- they are very slimy...

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  22. Phew! Another snail bit the dust, or rather, drowned in the butter and garlic. A straight swallow is the best way to handle it.

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  23. I grew up eating oysters... raw and cooked. I admit they are an *acquired taste*, but I did like them. However, I no longer eat them... nor organ meat like liver and kidneys (which I did like also) because now I'm not sure that knowing their function, they should be eaten. As for snail (escargot), I've tasted these on occasion and along with the garlic and butter, tasted fine. But again... when you think about it... unless you were starving (or trying to prevent an international crises), why would you eat this?

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  24. For the purposes of your business you did the right thing. Whether you went on to eat snails ever again is neither here nor there. I have eaten snails in France with butter and garlic and it could have been anything.

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  25. Joanne I think you deserved a medal for distinguished conduct in the face of adversity - no power on earth could make me eat a snail uggh the thought of it.

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  26. As a child I was called a picky eater. I prefer to think that I am discerning. Now as an adult I really resent when others want to force me to "just try" something. I'll try what I want to try. Where do people get off bullying those of us who know what we like?

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  27. I've never acquired a taste for escargot although my daughter loves it. It's just slime to me.

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  28. Just the kind of blog post I love - rich in memories and history and as tasty as only the very finest escargot.

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  29. Really enjoyed your story. Now I need to get motivated to write about my international work. Working and getting to know people from the far parts of the world is so interesting and really opens up your mind. I find blogging offers a bit of that too. I had a somewhat similar experience with sushi once.

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  30. Nope.....not goin ta do it......nope!

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  31. I have never tried escargot, but would down MANY oysters on the half shell if I could afford them. you are full of wonderful stories. Keep it up.

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