On Sunday I had a special date with my seven year old second cousin, McKenna. We planned to go clamming together, that is, dig up clams on the beach at low tide. (And then take them home and eat them!) The day broke clear and warm, a slight breeze but nothing too chilling. We sat in the sun as we awaited the low tide in the early afternoon. And as 1 PM neared, we climbed into the pickup truck with our rakes, basket, and brand new rubber gloves and headed to the western end of the island. Our destination was a small strip of land inside Madaket Harbor called Jackson's Point (here's a map of west Nantucket, we went right above the "E" on the map).
We arrived to find the beach deserted, not only of people but of the soft-shelled clams (aka "steamers") we'd hope to dig up. The sand was littered with empty scallop shells as we began our explorations. Soon we happened upon clusters of mussels all wrapped together in sand, mud, and grass and we changed our plan. Mussels it would be! We gathered about three pounds as we explored the beach at low tide.
In addition to mussels, we found a knobbed whelk (the whelk was still inside the shell) and the cutest little hermit crab. We watched sea gulls catch and eat crabs on the beach and collected some shells. And after it was all done, we drove into town for an ice cream cone. More than once McKenna said to me, "Meghan, this has been one of the best days of my life!" And you know what? It was a really special one for me too.
That night, McKenna and I steamed the mussels for the rest of our family. Since we didn't have any white wine, we substituted beer instead. Everyone agreed the mussels were delicious. If you like mussels, why not try McKenna and Meghan's Mussels next time you're preparing some.