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Clams v. Mussel

JimInLoganSquare | Dec 16, 2003 07:46 PM

In a recent (mostly ignored; thanks JeffB) post regarding Sabatino's, I posed the question of why it is that Chicago seems so fascinated with mussels but not clams. In particular, the Italian-American community and their associated restaurants here are not so clam-friendly, although many make concessions. My wife, as a Syracuse, NY girl, has noted this interesting state of affairs for me. What theories are there? Currently, I'll take for granted that with today's overnight air freight services, if you are willing to pay for it, good quality clams are just as easy to obtain as mussels (although I seek correction on this point). My theory is that because mussels are a native Illinois product, and clams come from the Atlantic, those Italians and Sicilians who made there way to Chicago 100 or more years ago just had to give up on the idea of getting any clams, and the native "taste" has adjusted accordingly. The savvy relatives of these folk who stayed somewhere along the Erie Canal were able to get (relatively) fresh clam shipments whenever they needed, even 100 years ago or more. That would include the folks in Syracuse, naturally. That's my theory.

Any thoughts on this heady matter?

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