National Fried Clam Day Date in the current year: July 3, 2024

National Fried Clam Day Fried clams are one of the most iconic dishes of New England cuisine; some say they are to New England what barbecue is to the American South. So it is not surprising that there is a holiday dedicated to this amazing dish. National Fried Clam Day is celebrated annually on July 3.

Fried clams are clams dipped in evaporated milk, then floured and deep-fried in canola oil, soybean oil, or lard. In New England, the dish is usually made from soft-shell clams, also known as Essex clams or Ipswich clams. Fried clams are usually served at clam shacks, accompanied by Tartar sauce for dipping or on a hot dog bun (clam rolls).

The earliest mentions of fried clams date back to the mid-19th century, but it is unclear how exactly those fried clams were prepared. There are several different types of friend clams described in 19th-century cookbooks: battered clams fried in butter (clam fritters), breaded clams sautéed in fat or butter, and seasoned clams sautéed in butter.

The modern version of fried clams, which is widely regarded as one of signature New England dishes, is believed to have been invented by entrepreneur and restaurant owner Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman. In 1914, Woodman and his wife Bessie opened a concession stand selling fresh clams, homemade potato chips, and small grocery items in Essex, Massachusetts.

The business was slow at first, but everything changed when Woodman started selling fried clams. As legend goes, Woodman invented the dish thanks to his friend Mr. Tarr, a fisherman from neighboring Gloucester. When Woodman complained to Tarr about his business being slow, the fisherman suggested that Woodman fry some clams in the oil used for deep-frying potato chips. Woodman coated the clams in evaporated milk and corn flour before frying, and so the iconic dish was born.

The first batch of fried clams was allegedly made on July 3, 1916. The Woodmans presented the new dish to customers the next day, during the Independence Day celebration, and it was a hit. Fried clams saved their business, and today, Woodsman’s of Essex is one of the most famous restaurants in Massachusetts – and fried clams are an iconic New England dish.

National Fried Clam Day was launched in 2015 by none other than Woodman’s of Essex (well, it is actually not surprising that the birthplace of such an iconic dish would want to celebrate it). The date of the holiday was chosen to commemorate the first batch of clams made by Lawrence Woodman.

There are many ways to celebrate National Fried Clam Day. If you can make a trip to New England and enjoy authentic fried clams there, go for it! If you can’t, that’s okay. You can go out to the nearest seafood restaurant that serves fried clams or try making them at home. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalFriedClamDay and #FriedClamDay.

If you love New England cuisine, National Fried Clam Day is not the only holiday you might want to observe. Other food days celebrating iconic New England dishes include National Clam Chowder Day (February 25), National New England Clam Chowder Day (January 21), and National Boston Cream Pie Day (October 23).

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National Fried Clam Day, unofficial holidays, food days, food holidays, fried clams, New England cuisine