The most recent edition of the Art of Eating tells the idyllic story (print edition only) of foraging for clams on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. Plenty of stories have dealt with the how-to of clamming, but this piece does a particularly elegant job of capturing the tactile sensation of locating a legal-for-harvest-size clam with one’s toes and then eating it on the spot:

I’d brought my clam knife, a primitive thing with a stout blunt blade about three inches long. I wedged the blade into the hinge of the clam, buried in the pit of my palm. A quick twist, and my hand was doused with brine from inside the quahog. I slipped the blade above and below the meat to free it from the shell and slurped it down. Cool, a bit metallic, slippery and very, very salty.

Clams tend to be the ungainly, workingman’s oyster alternative (the beer to oysters’ wine), but this brief and poetic piece makes their case with eloquence to spare.

See more articles