I'm quite adventurous when it comes to food and will try almost anything once. There are only really two things I don't like; aspic (savoury jelly) and whelks. I tried a whelk once. I chewed it for 20 minutes and it looked the same as when I'd first put it in my mouth. Horrible. It made me think I wouldn't like snails, which look so similar.
It took me a long time to try my first one, and I was in a situation where I didn't really have a lot of choice.
I was doing a news report about a snail farmer in Herefordshire. I was shown into some hot and humid greenhouses where there were rows of plastic drums on stands. I could see the underside of thousands of snails squirming round the edges of the drums. They were gorging on a creamy powder that I was told was oatmeal. The snails were the biggest I've ever seen in my life.
This snail farmer was so successful at rearing yummy snails that he even sold them to the French. The nearby pub had them on the menu too and that was where I was taken to sample a dish of 'escargots'. I have to admit that I'd had a sleepless night worrying about this part of the job. I was served a bowl of snails cooked in garlic butter.
They smelled delicious and looked inviting too. The snails were still in their shells which glistened with butter and were sprinkled with parsley. The worst part was getting them out of the shell. I had no choice but to go for it. I expected the snail to be slimy and gristly in my mouth but it wasn't - it was meaty and very tasty.
The second time I had snails was in Spain. I was visiting friends who lived in a mountain village, and they took me to a little restaurant where the local dish was paella - made from wild rabbit and wild snails. Of course I had to try it - and out came a large flat paella dish filled with saffron rice and small pieces of rabbit. Also scattered around the plate were little black heads with two tiny antenna sticking up - the snails. They were so small you hardly noticed them in your mouth - and the whole dish was delicious.
If we had to forage for our own food we'd probably all be eating snails and insects - or turn vegetarian.
When they're in my garden ruining my plants and slithering about leaving slimy trails, I admit I don't think 'yum'. But like a lot of slimy foods, once cooked, they're meaty and delicious.