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Posts Tagged ‘Ipswich clams’

Ipswich clams in the raw

How did these clams end up looking like this:

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and finally this:

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There is a famous  poem by Wallace Stevens, called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at  a Blackbird”, which popped into my mind after pondering the various incarnations of the clams I cooked for dinner last night.  Now I have a very special relationship with clams.  Most people won’t admit that, but I will.  I grew up in New England, where in the summers my dad had us up to our bony little knees in mud, digging around the muck for Quahogs, the most famous larger than life clam from Rhode Island.  We would haul these large edible rocks back to our backyard grill and wait for them to spring open before chewing them down with a touch of Tabasco sauce.

Later on I lived in Boston for many years and fell in love with the famous Ipswich clam, unearthed from under the tidal mudflats on Boston’s North Shore.  These sweet, full bellied clams are enjoyed as “Steamers,” in chowders, and most notably fried in some secret, proprietary batter passed down from generation to generation.  They have aroused an inexplicable longing in me that is wrapped up in memory, a sense of place and time, that for right now, can only be conjured through the magic of cooking them for myself.

Now back to Wallace and his poem.  There are many ways of looking at an object, whether it be a blackbird, a clam, or a person you love.  Now I haven’t read this poem since I took a college poetry class in 1997.  But for some reason it popped into my head, then I discovered this analysis of the poem, which states:

Wallace Stevens is a man deeply involved with philosophical problems as they relate to man and his universe. He seems to be asking us to open our minds to the magic of everyday life, ie; the blackbird and nature, but also to reevaluate our mindset in relation to living in an ordinary, mundane world. I believe he is attempting to counsel us in using an open mind and creative visualisation in order to bring about a conscious bond between the causal and seemingly acausal relationships enjoyed by every object and living being involved in the dance of life.

This really got me going because I just bought a copy of the Tao Te Ching, and I’m sitting here feeling full of the synchronicity of the universe.  All of this because I decided to make some clams for dinner last night.

Cooking is truly a form of magic.  It is transformative in the literal sense, and on a greater plane.  If you want to make some changes in your life, whatever they might be, consider cooking as an activity that can help you tap into the your own power to transform and connect with the universe.

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