Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 93: Clamzilla, a Tasty Little Secret


 I know I'm selfish. I know I am supposed to share. I know that other mothers save the very best morsels of food for their children or for their husbands. I am not that mother. I kept the news of Clamzilla a secret. I waited until the boys shuffled off to school on Monday morning before digging him out from his hiding place in the bucket beneath smaller specimens.

Cleaning clams doesn’t really bug me. I like it better after the razor clams have expired. This is usually handled with a flood of fresh water from the tap and about an hour of waiting time. But the salt water in the bucket and the cool garage kept my clams alive overnight. I knew I wouldn’t want to clean clams after driving home from the beach on Sunday, so it was important to keep them alive until I was ready to tend to the killing. Fresh clams are not only better to eat, but safer.

I chopped off the tip of Clamzilla’s siphon and his neck retracted. I slid the blade up through the digger and splayed open the shell. He twitched. I removed the worm-like float and a small amount of waste product before slipping the knife through both siphon tubes to filet the neck flat. I don’t know at what point the clam actually dies, but the thing moves a lot through the whole cleaning process. I’m guessing the slice through the digger handles it, but I’m not sure. Clams have no central nervous system, no major gut cavity, and no blood. I know it is still killing, but the process pales in comparison to gutting a steelhead, and I know it is nothing like butchering a mammal. Still, I wouldn’t call the ordeal pleasant.

I usually clean the clams and let them rest in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a few hours before cooking. Time restores appetite by separating the killing me from the eating me. But not Monday morning, it was breakfast time, and I intended to eat Clamzilla.

Unshelled and cleaned, Clamzilla weighed a whopping 5 ounces, which is nearly 2 servings of protein. As a meal, he equaled 1.5 grams of fat, 5 carbohydrates, and 21 grams of protein. I decided to keep breakfast as clean as possible, no breading on the clam and no butter in the pan. I slid the meat into a dry skillet. After a few seconds, the heat caused release of clam juice, known fondly in the culinary world as the nectar. I dropped in an organic egg and poached both to perfection.

Guilt free, I poured a cup of coffee and sat down to my gastronomical reward.  Fabulous. As I enjoyed my breakfast, I must admit that sharing with the boys never crossed my mind.  All sane moms must savor a few private indulgences.


  1. This post makes me want to know more about the actual physiognomy of clams. Like, if they don't have blood or gut cavities or central nervous systems, what is their experience of life even like? What's their life cycle, what if any kind of interactions do they have with other life forms, etc? I'm sure at one point in biology class ages ago i must have studied this but i don't remember anything about it. Fascinating stuff. Also, i love the admission of selfishness about eating Clamzilla. And the fact that, if you come to the beach with little kids you can haul way bigger legal loads of clams. Makes me think, that might make babysitting more attractive. Ha!

  2. I too have my selfish gastronomic indulgences. I do not give the best to the kids - they do not appreciate them the way I do.

    I, too, am curious about their existence and such. Great questions, Rachel. Good point about more people allowing you to collect more.

  3. there life experience is much like the oil filter in your car. except this filter moves. they do not ponder their excistence sea goes in sea goes out.