My Lesson in “Mouth Over Mind” in a Paris Cafe


I had not planned on eating escargot during my stay in the twinkling city of Paris. Sure I wanted to experience all the beautiful, rich food that months of research and years of dreaming had promised me. Buttery croissants, colorful desserts, all kinds of cheeses, I smiled just thinking of the great experiences my mouth would have.

Chez Clement, where the battle was won.
Chez Clement, where the battle was won.

But there I sat in a beautiful Parisian restaurant, where only moments ago we were led to our table by a well-dressed gentlemen, and I was excited by the prospect of trying escargot. My decision to go ahead and place the order for the dish wasn’t the hard part. The description did a great job of selling me on it: garlic, butter, parsley – these were some of my favorite ingredients. I was sold. Although, I must admit that the moments between me ordering the dish and it arriving at the table I had about 5 second thoughts. Thank goodness for the wine! But sadly, as soon as my “new experience” hit the table, I immediately sobered up. As the waiter walked away, the moment was left with me, the escargot, and my thoughts.

Me: I was excited to have a new food experience. I live for these kinds of moments!

The Escargot: It looked and smelled amazing! How on earth could this just be my first time?

My Mind: It said absolutely nothing. It simply played this picture on repeat.

By Prolineserver (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Prolineserver (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I looked over the dish for a few moments. Those moments were filled with complete mental struggle. I knew I couldn’t back down and actually my mouth didn’t want to walk away; it had to have it. But that picture of a crawling snail, leaving its slimy path just stayed in my head. I could not get it to stop. But I pushed forward, sliding the meat from its shell and slowly placing it in my mouth. It was GOOD! There was no doubt about it. But my mind was still very present, playing tricks on me.

I had to fight to get that first bite down my throat, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the taste. In fact, each bite was a mental battle, all the way down to the last chew when all that was left on the plate were empty shells. To this day I still see a slimy snail each time I think of the great escargot I experienced in a Parisian restaurant. I honestly don’t think it will ever go away. I’m just glad that I played a good game and came out the victor.

Have you been there too? When was a time you had to fight against your inner self for the opportunity to take part in a new experience?

My main entree was a little easier to get down!
My main entree was a little easier to get down!
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