The Taste of Clams, Savoring These Memories


I’d often heard people say, “Time will ease everything”, but I don’t know why, the memories I’d held of my father-in-law seemed to become clearer by the day.

Being an unable cook, I’d gladly, gained the understanding of my mother-in-law’s household, every time we’d gone back home to visit, I’d only needed to do simple things such as cleaning up the vegetable, the meats, the fishes for preparations, and, all the cooking was done, by my father-in-law.  And, his cooking utensils seemed to be filled with magic, he’d only needed to wave it around, like a magic wand, then, in the shortest possible time, several amazing dishes were put out, and he’d managed to, satisfy every picky eater of the family.

蛤蜊的滋味 圖/無疑亭picture from the papers…

He knew that his children and grandchildren loved the steamed clams, and would often quietly, head back to the stoves, after everybody was full, sitting around in the living room, chatting, and, before we knew it, he’d served up a plate of steamy, hot boiled clams, and, with the warmth from the lights, the clams each looked very fat and round, attached to the shells.  And, everybody who was just full from before all fought to get the clams, and, in a very short time, the clam shell mountain was, all that remained, with the childish calls of, “Grandpa, I want more!”, and, my father-in-law always looked very satisfied, and stated, “Yes, there is more!”, and, shortly enough, another plate of aromatic seafood was, served up for all of us.

My chopsticks also, fought with everybody else’s, crisscrossed over the plate, and, the thought of, “How come when I cooked it, the shell always got separated from the meats?”, but, I’d not had the time to think of it too long, I can’t get distracted, with this great plate of food before me.  The New Year’s vacation on the year that my father-in-law passed away, I’d think of how he’d become weakened by his illness, I’d tried to help him out in the kitchens, as I walked in, I saw my father-in-law, with his focus on the clams in the wok, and, as any of the clams “popped” open, he’d immediately, clamped them up with his chopsticks, not allowing them a second extra, broiling in the water.  Back then, I was surprised, such an easy method, why did I not think of it?

And now, I’d learned to also, pick up the clams one by one, out of the cooker too, it’s just, that as the steams rose while I cooked, it’s as if, I see my father-in-law, using great concentration and serious focus, repeated that boring act, just as how he’d used his whole life, using the simplest and most focused kind of love, to watch over the household.

So, there’s actually, NO secret to cooking this dish, just be watchful, to make sure that the food doesn’t stay one extra second in the water, and, this would be considered gruesome for people who are not really into cooking, but, this man had, given all his heart to his family, by making sure that the foods his young loved to eat doesn’t cook for too long, and, the recipe here, is not adding an assortment of hard-to-get ingredients, but just adding a little more love into the process of cooking.


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