Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Obsession With Clam Cakes
My first memories of clam cakes were as a small child at the drive-in movie theater. All of the drive-ins in the area served clam cakes, and we usually clamored for them during intermission while running amuck in our jammies.
Clam cakes are a New England tradition dating back only about a hundred years or so. Being that I am in my 60s, it doesn't seem right somehow that clam cakes can be so young. After all, those sand-scooting mollusks have been around since the dawn of time, no?
For those of you who may not have been brought up near the ocean, clam cakes – or fritters, as some call them – are balls of fried dough containing pieces of chopped clam or quahog. Clam cakes are often served with french fries, onion rings, other fried seafood, and clam chowder.
Where did the first clam cakes come from anyway? Whose idea were clam cakes? I'd love to give credit to New Bedford or even Massachusetts for inventing the clam cake, but it appears to be a Rhode Island creation.
The first clam cake seems to date back to Aunt Carrie's Restaurant in Narragansett in 1920. Only In Your State/Rhode Island.com and multiple other sources indicate that Aunt Carrie ran out of corn for her fritters one day and substituted chopped clam instead. Voila! The clam cake was born.
In my most humble opinion, the best clam cakes when I was growing up were at the Shore Dinner Hall at Rocky Point Park in Warwick, Rhode Island. You can find some pretty good-tasting clam cakes in Massachusetts, too.
Who serves the best clams cakes you've ever had?