Clam diggers

Will the mighty quahog get the official nod?

By Charles P. Pierce
June 26, 2011

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Dear Mercenaria Mercenaria: I use your Latin name instead of “quahog,” which is your nickname among us members of other species, because it seems fitting to be formal now that you may be on your way to becoming the official shellfish of our great Commonwealth (God save it!). To tell you the truth, I didn’t think we had much need of an official shellfish. I thought we might have had that covered because, for nearly five decades now, the fried clams at the Kream ’n’ Kone in West Dennis have been the state’s Official Shellfish Eaten After a Night Spent at the Clubs Along Route 28 and Regretted Bitterly the Next Morning. But, apparently, there was some stirring at the State House for something simpler than that, and you’ve managed to get more momentum behind you than have the oyster, the scallop, Bill Belichick, and the various other hard-shelled local fauna. It’s hard to imagine that, even in this state, there was much heated debate on the subject. After all, you’ve got supporters who dig your genus from Prince Edward Island to the Yucatan. And, in fact, you are often referred to simply as a “clam,” the way all refrigerators are Frigidaires and all white brittle packaging material is Styrofoam. The rest of those various bivalves don’t stand a chance. The real challenge is publicity. We have to get you to come out of your shell a little. Well, that, and find the garlic sauce.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at