Hold the mayo
"A few of our visitors were glad to take the chances of a dinner with us, allured by the reputation of French cookery, which, in fact, increased our culinary resources, and provided for our guests some surprises entirely unlooked for. I do not speak now of the immense bullfrogs, whose legs were as large as and more delicate than the leg of a chicken. We had something better, or at least more rare than that, as doubtless Count de V___, a French officer attached at the time to the staff of General Keyes, will remember.
One day he was served at our open-air table with an exquisite mayonnaise, - so he called it after tasting it. He partook a second time with pleasure. "But what is that mayonnaise made of? What is the secret?" He could not guess and was very much perplexed about it.
"Eat what you want first, and afterwards we will give you the recipe."
"And I will take it to France," added the captain, "that it may take its place above the Parmentier potato, and by the side of the wild turkey of Brillat-Savarin."
The meal finished, the secret was revealed. The mayonnaise was of the black snake, whose nutritious qualities my Zouaves had discovered. We had eaten it without troubling ourselves, knowing what it was made of. But see the power of imagination. The word "black snake" was a shot in the stomach of our guest. He had found the dish excellent; the name struck him with horror. White as his plate as he rose, his smile had disappeared. - I regret to add, in conclusion, that he never appeared again at our table, and I have every reason to think that he did not make known in France the savory qualities of the black snake - in a mayonnaise."
The above incident happened in the Old Dominion State.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!