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Monday, April 27, 2009

Centavo’s Two Cents - The First Clam Bake

Centavo’s Two Cents - The First Clam Bake
by Penny Nask

It is impossible for me to stop eating clams. While my guests are busy devouring a normal breakfast at a local eatery, I am stacking a long train of empty clam shells around my plate.

When I found out that an ordinary person could dig for clams on the beach . . . well, deliriously blissful didn’t come close to my disposition.

What did I need to do this? A rake, a bucket, beer, the low tide and some free time. Are you kidding me? This venture was created for me!

Bucket in hand (actually two buckets . . . one for beer), I went to collect my share. "Rake until you hit something that feels like a rock,” I was told. In one half hour I had collected seven. Hmmm . . . was I doing something wrong?

Apparently clam diggers have their secret ways. One woman had an unusually long knife—almost a Samurai Sword. She knelt and sliced into the wet mud till she hit a clam. She was popping them into her bucket every time she dug this way. (Where can I get one of those?)

But dig I must . . . dig . . . dig . . . dig . . . clam . . . dig . . . dig . . . clam. I was possessed. You would think that they were diamonds. Under all this mud were clams that I could have for free! I was unstoppable

At night I would dream of clams . . . clams that just flipped out of their hiding place and into my bucket. Thank you!

The first time I went clam digging I brought home about 50 clams. They ended up in boiling water before someone could say, “Do you want linguine with that?”

My favorite clamming folks were two guys that carried sacks and golf clubs converted into long forks. Every day they clammed with this equipment. They never bent down much and their sacks were always full. They told me that they didn’t eat clams and that they were digging them just for fun. What? . . . and would I like theirs. What?

Great! I didn’t have to dig. Instead, I could just relax and ponder about other clam phenomenon. For instance: How did the first human discover that they could eat these things or even open them up?

This is my possible Two-Cent Story . . .

Beginning Man was told to hunt for food by Beginning Woman. He brought his hunting tools but was not successful catching reptile, animal or fish. He knew that Beginning Woman would be mad. He would bring her a present to soothe her temper. Beginning Man absentmindedly stirred up the beach mud with a stick. He hit an object, then another. He liked them and carried them home.

Beginning Woman saw that he had brought what she thought were stones in his basket. Irritated, she threw them on the hot fire where they sizzled from the heat and opened up. Surprised at this, Beginning Man and Beginning Woman were curious about the aroma of the clams and were able to pull them from the coals. When the clams had cooled, they ate them.

Thus the name, Cherry”stone” clams. History was made.