eating etiquette (how to eat...)
Table manners for eating clams. Hold the shell with the fingers of one hand and a shellfish fork (or smallest fork provided) with the other hand. Spear the clam with the fork, dip it into the sauce, and eat it in one bite. Alternatively, take a bit of sauce on your fork and then drop it onto the clam. If a part of the clam sticks to the shell, use your fork to separate it from the shell.
Table manners for crackers and horseradish. If oyster crackers are served and you'd like to mix them with your individual serving of sauce, crumble them with your fingers before mixing. Horseradish, too, can be mixed in, or a drop can go directly onto the shellfish if you like the hot taste.
Table manners to eating raw clams. When you order raw clams at a clam bar or eat them at a picnic, it's fine to pick up the shell with the fingers and suck the meat and juice right off the shell.
Table manners for eating steamed clams. Don't eat any steamed clams that haven't opened at least halfway; they may be spoiled. Open the shell of a good clam fully, holding it with one hand. If the setting is casual, pull out the clam with your fingers or a seafood fork. If the clam is a true steamer, slip the skin off the neck with your fingers and put it aside. The holding the clam in your fingers, dip it into the broth or melted butter (or both) and eat it in one bite.
If no bowl is provided for empty shells, deposit them around the edge of your plate. In a more casual setting, it's okay to drink the broth after you've finished eating th clams. In a more formal setting, follow the host's lead.
- Mike Lininger, Editor, Etiquette Scholar
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