Saturday, June 21, 2008

North Carolina and its Seafood

Talking of gatherings we had in North Carolina, there was one occasion when for some reason everyone brought clams - one person went out and raked up some in the Sound, another person bought some and someone else gave us some. We ended up with something like 1,200 clams that weekend. The group of us ate them every which way, in chowders, raw, steamed, fried and so on. From that weekend on, Matt has never eaten another clam. It even put him off oysters which he used to love. I still ate clams all kinds of ways, except raw, it never put me off. A friend used to do clam bakes in a special steamer and the guys would go off shore at her place and rake up enough clams for supper.

Another time, we had what the locals would describe as a 'mess of blues', in other words a lot of bluefish caught in local waters. Matt cut them in strips, rolled them in seasoned flour and deep fried them. They were delicious. I'm not sure Matt ever got any though, everyone was eating them as fast as he could cook them. Another time when we had been out on the boat and gone to one of the islands where there were some guys fishing and catching bluefish as fast as they could throw their bait in the water. They gave us a cooler full of the fish which was really nice of them. For some reason, although Matt and a friend stood right next to them, they didn't catch any fish at all and these guys were still pulling them out as fast as they could. We took them home and kidded another friend that we had caught them. Matt actually told her hubby the truth, but to the day she died, she never knew we hadn't caught them ourselves. She was a fishing fool herself. Our boat was called Wake's Own (our last name being Wake) which was a play on words as everywhere you would see posts saying No Wake Zone. A boat joke.

As you can see, our lot of our fun came from eating parties of one kind or another, of course there was usually plenty of liquid refreshment of one kind or another. After the clam party, Matt was in the yard cleaning up the next morning, in those days everyone smoked, and there were usually cigarette buts and maybe a few cans, plastic glasses and bottles to clear up. He then went in and took a shower got dressed and went outside again. He kept smelling a nasty odour and finally realised it was his shorts from where the clam juices had run onto them through the picnic table the night before. They could almost walk on their own. We didn't have a washer and dryer in our mobile home so a friend used to do it for us. There was great laughter about those shorts I can tell you.

We had lots of wonderful friends in North Carolina, and lots of good memories of being with them.

The following is a recipe for clam chowder which is very similar to the one I used to make, of course I used fresh clams, not canned. The best chowder I ever ate was made by an Indian friend of a friend of ours, it was wonderful, it included some spiciness too, but I never did get the recipe unfortunately. There is also a Manhattan Clam Chowder which involves tomatoes, but the one mostly made in NC was the New England Clam Chowder.

Clam Chowder

Food Network.
  • 1 x can baby clams
  • 1 x small potato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 x clove garlic
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 300ml 2% milk
  • 200ml 35% cream
  1. Peel and cube potato in small pieces.
  2. Fine dice onions.
  3. In a pot saute onions ,celery, garlic and potato With a little butter. Add cream and milk.
  4. Open can of baby clams and reserve liquid.
  5. Boil soup till potatoes are almost tender add clam juice.
  6. Once potatoes are tender add clams and season remove from heat and serve.


  1. My sis used to go a bundle on clam chowder (she doesn't have my alllergies). I've never had bluefish (yet!) but I do like the sound of that fry-up.

  2. It seems you been travelling a lot !
    It's funy now each time i'am reading your stories which ends to a recipie i'm dying straving ! I want clams !! i will end as a stomach on leggs listening to mp3 frying-up food...

  3. I am guessing in France you can get clams even if only in cans which can be pretty good. I am not sure if you can get fresh ones on your coasts. I know you have mussels - oooh just thought of Moules Marinière, used to be one of my faves. We get mussels here but they are expensive. Seafood is generally expensive in this part of Canada because we are so very far from the sea.

    Bluefish are great ru, but I have only ever come across them on the Atlantic coast of NC.

  4. Clams -- and oysters -- to be eaten only if the name of the month has an 'r'. Is this the rule in North American too?

  5. Oysters definitely have a season, but not clams they eat them all year round.