NATIONAL FRIED CLAM DAY
National Fried Clam Day is observed annually on July 3rd. Fried clams are an iconic food in the New England states. They tend to be served at seaside clam shacks or roadside restaurants. The clams are dipped in milk and coated with a combination of regular, corn, and/or pastry flour. Then the coated clams are fried in oil. They can be “clam strips” (sliced parts of hard-shell clams) or whole soft-shell clams. Whole softshell clams impart a fuller flavor, however, some restaurants remove the clam’s neck.
In 1914, Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman and his wife Bessie opened a small concession sand on Main Street in Essex, Massachusetts. On week-ends they sold small grocery items, homemade potato chip and fresh clams that Chubby dug himself. At first business was slow but on July 3, 1916, things began to change.
It was on that day that a local fisherman named Tarr was visiting the stand and Chubby complained that, “Business was slower than a couple of snails headed
uphill.” Tarr, while nibbling on the tasty homemade potato chips, noticed a bucket of clams nearby and jokingly said “Why don’t you fry up some of your clams? If they’re as tasty as those potato chips of yours you’ll never have to worry about having enough customers.” Fried clams were unheard of and Tarr’s comment was rewarded with cold stares from two other customers. “That’s ridiculous!” said one. The other one remarked, “Clams have shells.” The poor fisherman muttered, “I wasn’t serious. It was a joke. I know you can’t fry clams lie chips!”
However, when the three men left, Chubby and Bessie started to think about it. What if they did fry up some of the clams and sold them? If they tasted good they would have created a way to increase the demand for their own shucked clams. “Let’s try it,” Bessie said as she tossed a slab of lard into the fry pot normally used to make potato chips. The shucked some clams and experimented with different batters, having some locals try them out. When the overall verdict was “delicious!” they know they were on to something big.
The next day, during the 4th of July parade, Chubby and Bessie presented the first fried clams to the citizens of Essex and the Yankee appetite has never been the same since. A year later a Boston fish market advertised that it was “now equipped to serve the new taste treat – fried clams.” And Howard Johnson, owner of a chain of restaurants on the East Coast, came himself to learn how to make fried clams from Chubby.
On the backside of their wedding certificate, Lawrence and Bessie wrote what they considered to be important family events. The first two lines were the birth dates of their two oldest sons, Wilbur and Henry. The third line was the other important birth date in the family. It read: “We fried the first fried clam—in the town of Essex, July 3, 1916.”
101 years and six generations later clams are still frying at Woodman’s, where it all began.
Go out for dinner with friends and have fried clams. Try your hand at making your own fried clams and share them with family and friends.
National Fried Clam Day was submitted by Woodman’s of Essex in May, 2015. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared National Fried Clam Day to be observed annually on July 3.
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE WAFER DAY
National Chocolate Wafer Day is observed each year on July 3rd. Once again, chocolate lovers across the country have a reason to enjoy their favorite flavor for breakfast, lunch and supper and as snacks in between.
These crispy snacks are an American favorite. With their waffle surface pattern and thin layers, they make an excellent addition to ice cream. They are a popular ingredient in cakes and cheesecakes. Chocolate wafers can be crushed to make a delicious pie crust.
No matter where or how you are eating your wafers, these delicious treats are truly worth celebrating!
NATIONAL EAT YOUR BEANS DAY
National Eat Your Beans Day is a “live healthy” holiday celebrated every year on July 3. This day celebrates the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE.
Now, just as throughout the Old and New World history, beans are an important source of protein. A very healthy choice for any meal or snack, they are also an excellent source of fiber, are low in fat and are high in complex carbohydrates, folate and iron.
- There are approximately 40,000 bean varieties in the world.
- Only a fraction of these varieties are mass-produced for regular consumption.
Enjoy one of our “tried and true” recipes and enjoy
National Eat Beans Day!
NATIONAL EAT BEANS DAY HISTORY
Our research was unable to locate the creator of National Eat Beans Day, an “unofficial” National holiday.