Lesson 23 One man ’ s meat is another man ’ s poison
People become quite illogical when they try to decide what can be eaten and what cannot be eaten. If you lived in the Mediterranean, for instance, you would consider octopus a great delicacy. You would not be able to understand why some people find it repulsive. On the other hand, your stomach would turn at the idea of frying potatoes in animal fat– the normally accepted practice in many northern countries. The sad truth is that most of us have been brought up to eat certain foods and we stick to them all our lives.
No creature has received more praise and abuse than the common garden snail. Cooked in wine, snails are a great luxury in various parts of the world. There are countless people who, ever since their early years, have learned to associate snails with food. My friend, Robert, lives in a country where snails are despised. As his flat is in a large town, he has no garden of his own. For years he has been asking me to collect snails from my garden and take them to him. The idea never appealed to me very much, but one day, after a heavy shower, I happened to be walking in my garden when I noticed a huge number of snails taking a stroll on some of my prize plants. Acting on a sudden impulse, I collected several dozen, put them in a paper bag, and took them to Robert. Robert was delighted to see me and equally pleased with my little gift. I left the bag in the hall and Robert and I went into the living-room where we talked for a couple of hours. I had forgotten all about the snails when Robert suddenly said that I must stay to dinner. Snails would, of course, be the main dish. I did not fancy the idea and I reluctantly followed Robert out of the room. To our dismay, we saw that there were snails everywhere: they had escaped from the paper bag and had taken complete possession of the hall! I have never been able to look at a snail since then.
在决定什么能吃而什么不能吃的时候，人们往往变得不合情理。比如，如果你住在地中海地区，你会 把章鱼视作是美味佳肴，同时不能理解为什么有人一见章鱼就恶心。另一方面，你一想到动物油炸土豆就 会反胃，但这在北方许多国家却是一种普通的烹任方法。不无遗憾的是， 我们中的大部分人，生来就只吃 某几种食品，而且一辈子都这样。
没有一种生物所受到的赞美和厌恶会超过花园里常见的蜗牛了。蜗牛加酒烧煮后，便成了世界上许多 地方的一道珍奇的名菜。有不计其数的人们从小就知道蜗牛可做菜。但我的朋友罗伯特却住在一个厌恶蜗 牛的国家中。他住在大城市里的一所公寓里，没有自己的花园。多年来，他一直让我把我园子里的蜗牛收 集起来给他捎去。一开始，他的这一想法没有引起我多大兴趣。后来有一天，一场大雨后，我在花园里漫 无目的散步，突然注意到许许多多蜗牛在我的一些心爱的花木上慢悠悠的蠕动着。我一时冲动，逮了几十 只，装进一只纸袋里，带着去找罗伯特。罗伯特见到我很高兴，对我的薄礼也感到满意。我把纸袋放在门 厅里，与罗伯特一起进了起居室，在那里聊了好几个钟头。我把蜗牛的事已忘得一干二净，罗伯特突然提 出一定要我留下来吃晚饭，这才提醒了我。蜗牛当然是道主菜。我并不喜欢这个主意，所以我勉强跟着罗 伯特走进了起居室。使我们惊愕的是门厅里到处爬满了蜗牛:它们从纸袋里逃了出来，爬得满厅都是!从 那以后，我再也不能看一眼蜗牛了。