There's always a beach somewhere here in the Northwest corner of Washington that is open for oystering and clamming but those locations usually involve an hour plus drive as well as a mile trek to get to them, which is great for a family day trip but not for an after lessons and before basketball/ballet sort of day.
On March 1, the season opened at our favorite "local" beach, Penrose Point State Park. My goodness I've posted a lot about this place, here, here and here. But it's a perfect park for children so I suspect this won't be the last time I'll be writing about it here!
This is my second year as a mollusking forager (can I call myself that? is that a word?!) and I think I'm getting the hang of it a little better. For one, I came well equipped with an actual oyster knife and protective gloves rather than a kitchen knife and my husband's garden leather gloves. Tools make all the difference, so the they say and oh is it true. Shucking was a breeze and I never thought I'd say that!
Not only am I getting some good practice in but these helpful little kids of mine somehow left the irresistable exploration of the tidepools to spend a little time piling oysters by side, shucking their own and digging, digging for clams. And of course a day out wouldn't be complete without a little fighting over who gets to use the shovel!
The first oyster shucked of the season.
Only my girl dresses in floral and brings baskets to the beach!
He wanted to shuck more but Mama gets a little nervous with a knife in his hand, so one attempt was about all my nerves could handle. The glove is supposed to be cut proof so if I hype myself up enough maybe I should let him try more on the next visit!
My help has just arrived and I'm standing around taking pictures and updating on my Instagram friends!
This young man of mine worked hard. He was determined to reach our goal of forty and remained digging there while the younger finally had their tired meltdowns and had to be towed to the cars for some warmth. I had to drag him away! And get this! On our way back to the care he turned around and said, "Mom, let me carry the tools"! Oh, what a polite and serviceable gentleman. Clamming and him go well together I think!
The following night we enjoyed Spaghetti with a Red Clam Sauce but it was devoured before I even thought of showing you a picture of that.
On a side note, for the tomatoes, I used my one and only canned tomato from last year's garden. I had canned several jars last fall but they were used immediately because I'm not confident in my canning skills just yet. But I had saved just one and I thought now would be the perfect time to test it out. It was a good sign when I struggled momentarily to pry that seal off the jar. Needless to say, there wasn't any sign of nausea on any of our parts and the tomatoes were still robust with flavor so I may have stepped into a more comfortable relationship with canning after this meal.
But the most delicious plate served these evenings was the gratification when my children declared, "we made this and it's good!". They experienced that connection of working with their hands, finding food and bringing it to the table and devouring it completely.
I wish every meal could be this meaningful.