Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Jim has a friend who claims to be a world connoisseur of clams. He traveled all over the world and tasted clams wherever he went. Nothing compares to the Ipswich Clams at the Clam Box in Ipswich, Massachusetts. This is the place, small,  but the parking lot is huge, if that gives you an idea. Lines formed immediately after the place opened and we ordered the native fried clams and a couple of clam cakes. While we waited we read the newspaper articles about the place. The Ipswich clams are most tasty, so the story goes, because of the acidic nature of the mud they grow in. The folks here make two promises, never frozen, always local. The food critics mention that Ipswich clams are never gritty because they aren't grown in sand. I'm no expert in fried clams, but I've tasted plenty of them since traveling New England and I'd have to say they were the best I've tasted. Fat, ample without the breading overpowering the clam. They are dipped in evaporated milk and lightly floured with corn flour before being fried. The owners claim if they can't get the right size clams, they don't serve them. They also apologize for stopping mid afternoon and changing their oil. On our way to Manchester, where we are staying for two nights, we passed through another town of Essex.
We just came from Essex, Connecticut which makes things confusing. Essex, Massachusetts' main industry was shipbuilding. Large wooden fishing vessels were built here and launched into a quite narrow section of the Essex River and moved out into the larger seaports.
The museum was closed but their yard had one of the last vessels built in Essex, rescued after it sunk in the mud and lay there for many years.

The boat named the Evangelina M. Goulart, was uniquely designed to bridge the gap between sailing and engine powered fishing boats. She could do both. Plus, she was built for regular fishing and net dragging, where huge nets were dragged along the ocean floor, a new technology then.
 She achieved fame as a champion sword fishing vessel, twice breaking the North Atlantic record for swordfish harpooned in a single voyage. On both occasions, the Evelina landed over three hundred swordfish in under three weeks.
Swordfish petered out in the 1950's and she became a full time dragger until her demise.

The boat was named for the fragile child pictured above with her parents. Evangelina did not live long enough to see her namesake launched.

 This rather small spot was where these boats were launched and led out to sea in a narrow channel.
When in New England, eat fish. I was happy to comply, trying the calamari salad for dinner.  Yum!

1 comment:

Karl said...

WOW! Haven't encountered this calamari salad yet but will surely give it a spin as it looks so very enticing!