Sunday, March 21, 2010
Today my neighbor Roland and I dug clams. Actually we raked clams as they are only 3 to 4 inches below the surface. Butter clams and Little Neck clams are abundant on our beach, since there are very few people now that care to harvest them. I don't know why that is so, since they are delicious in chowder, which I am about to make.I picked up 50 clams in a 3 square foot area with about 20 minutes of work, if you don't add in 40 minutes of talking time. I'm soaking them in water now to encourage them to get rid if the sand. I'll steam them up in order to to facilitate shucking them tomorrow, and then make Manhatten clam chowder a la Joy of Cooking, one of the pianist's bibles. She doesn't like clams so it's all for me. If I steam them outside on the barbeque the kitchen won't smell like a cannery.They have to be strained for sand and washed several times. It's messy and best done outside which is my domain. Once you start to collect clams there is a natural tendency to take more than you really need. Some restraint is good, only because you can get yourself in a mess cooking in factory like volumes, chopping vegetables, straining the liquid, packaging, labeling,freezing and washing up. Now that I think of it , maybe people are smart to avoid clam digging. This is the first week in 3 months that we have had day-time low tides so" make hay while the sun shines" they say,whoever they are. Despite the fact that Roland and I could never make a good living manufacturing clam chowder, it is a satisfying pursuit to cycle what we think is our own resource. Of course, "our own resource" is nonsense. In Canada, the people own the beach to the average high tide mark. Properly so! Forgive me for saying "our beach";only a manner of speaking!