HOW TO EAT YOUR CLAMBAKE
O.K.... So you think you know how to eat a lobster. You put on that silly bib, crack open the claws and tail, and pull out as much of the tender white meat as you can reach. If you're like our Aunt Mary, you'll suck on every leg, crush every knuckle (the upper portion of the lobsters claw closest to the body), and consume anything that won't break your teeth.
The corn, potatoes, onions, and chourico (Portuguese sausage) are a no brainer, and as long as you don't eat the shell, there is no trick to eating a mussel. The biggest concern of most clambake neophytes is "What are these things, and how do you eat them?"
These things which are also known as clams, steamers, steemiz, steamed clams, and soft shell clams are the heart and soul of a real New England Clambake, and are traditionally eaten as a first course. They are found in cold water tidal flats of the North Atlantic and must be dug by hand during low tide.
The inside of a steamer consists of a connected body and neck. Simply reach inside the shell with your fingers (don't even think of using a fork) and scoop out the entire clam. Holding the clam in one hand, just slide the black covering up and off the neck. Hold the clam by the tip of the neck, dip it into some hot broth (liquid which comes from the bottom of the steamer pot), and then into some melted butter. Put your head way back, open your mouth, drop it in, and taste a little bit of heaven. Repeat often, stopping only to pour more butter, wipe your face, or partake of your favorite liquid refreshment. When your steamers are finished, it is time to move onto the rest of your feast.