It's been the topic of discussion for a long time: What is the difference between a quahog and a clam? More importantly, which is better?

Last week I found myself sitting for drinks with friends who sparked up a conversation that I feel has been had at many SouthCoast tables.

The most glaring difference is the exterior. The quahog has a much harder outer shell. It also tends to be larger.

As for eating, well, if you are a clam eater you know you have to watch out for sand. Maybe you also know you must separate the clam from the shell with your hands. Then, add the sauce of your choice. Personally, I'd drown them in melted butter.

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Quahogs are a bit different as far as consumption goes. Well, at least we think. Most of the quahogs we eat around the SouthCoast are prepared for us. Think stuffed quahogs, for instance.

I don't claim to be knowledgeable about either seeing as I can count on one hand how many of each I have consumed in my lifetime but, boy, did the conversation get our cocktail hour riled up.

I was hoping you could help me square up my friends on the difference between these two shell dwellers.

And once we've settled that, we can move on to oysters.

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