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I never understood that clich�. We don't eat more snails (or frog legs) than anybody (I personally hate them).
Diaspora Italians, along with foreigners who come to Italy and eat only pizza and pasta, another cliche, don't have a full understanding of Italian culture or they'd know that we eat snails as well. So do the Spanish, and for all I know, others. I don't like them myself, even though Ancestry says I'm a mix of Italian and French. I like the sauce, but the snail itself has a peculiar flavor for me.
The Italian version:
I like the French version better if I have to eat them for politeness' sake, because I can just dunk bread in the sauce and disguise that I'm not eating the snails.
The Romans loved them, btw, so we can blame them.
"During the late Republic and the Empire, the Romans loved eating snails. Fluvius Hirpinus has been credited with making snails a popular dish shortly before the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey (49 BC). While the common people might eat snails gathered in a garden, the elite ate snails raised in special enclosures called choclearia and carefully fattened.Some were fattened with sapa, the honey-like liquid produced by boiling freshly pressed grape juice to reduce it to one third the original volume. The sapa was mixed with flour before feeding to the snails.
Others were fattened with milk, as in the following recipe from Apicius."
Truth be told, I'm sure they were eaten in all countries as a source of protein, before everyone got so squeamish. Some countries kept these old foods, probably because they knew how to make them palatable, like "tripa", cow intestines.