The French are not rude. They just happen to hate you. But that is no reason to bypass this beautiful country, whose master chefs have a well-deserved worldwide reputation for trying to trick people into eating snails. Nobody is sure how this got started. Probably a couple of French master chefs were standing around one day, and they found a snail, and one of them said: "I bet that if we called this something like `escargot,' tourists would eat it." Then they had hearty laugh, because ‘escargot’ is the French word for ‘fat crawling bag of phlegm.’
As to comments, let us be aware that Pulitzer Prize winning Barry is responsible for a most humorous column and not a few books, those often quite tongue in cheek. As to les escargots, let it be known that when fed properly before their dispatch at our hands they have no "phlegmlike" qualities and, when served a la Bourguignon (repacked in their shells together with garlic and parsley rich butter and then baked or grilled, magnificent! There are bistros in Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Beaune, Chablis, Nimes, Arles and a host of other French cities (oh yes, let us not forget the Cafe de Paris in Monaco) at which I will invariably feast on a dozen as my opening course.
One day I will tell the story of the snails of Barcelona, those indeed cooked and served in a and Port wine and sweet brandy sauce the snails merely happening to be still quite alive when brought to the table.