The Death of Commercial Clam Dip

Larry’s uncle loves clam dip. I mean, loves. No party has been complete without it. Except now. He’s been searching for weeks and kept coming up empty. We talked about it a month ago, and I decided to investigate.

Turns out that our main source in New England was a company named Heluva Good. Sounds like it should be making super hot salsa dip in Texas. Anyway, Hel has stopped making the much coveted dip. A search of its website produced the  disappointing, “Your search for ‘clam’ returned 0 items.” A bit more searching and I came across Edgar Allen Beem, who writes for The Forecaster. Note to newspapers: I shouldn’t have to look at the ads to figure out your location. “Portland, mid-coast, southern” doesn’t help, since I still don’t know if I’m in Maine or Oregon. The only thing, I was pretty sure it wasn’t Portland, Connecticut. Just because the product contains the name New England, doesn’t mean the columnist is located there, especially since company headquarters are someplace in New York. Turns out I was in Maine, which I figured out from a reference to New England about ten paragraphs into the column.)

Anyway, Mr. Beem had been purchasing almost as much clam dip as Larry’s uncle, until this year. He began his own investigation and discovered that Hel had stopped making the stuff. The company blamed the new FDA requirements, but Mr. Beem never did find out what exactly those requirements were. He’s contemplating becoming a conservative if it means less regulation of his clam dip.

I did some further digging and found several recipes. This one from about.com is sure to satisfy Larry’s uncle. I’m taking it to our next get-together, though Larry’s going to have to be the taste tester since I stop breathing if I eat clams.

Recipe: Mix together six ounces cream cheese, 3/4 cup mayo, and one small clove minced garlic until smooth. Add one seven-ounce can minced clams, drained. Blend in 1/ 4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1/ 2 teaspoon paprika, a dash of cayenne or hot pepper sauce, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Chill thoroughly. Serve with chips, crackers or vegetables. I vote for those Cape Cod Kettle-Cooked Robust Russet Potato Chips that Mr. Beem recommends.

P.S., to you folks who think that Mr. Beem is truly becoming a conservative, look up the words “ironic” and “hyperbole” in the dictionary. Then look up the word “blowhard” and look in the mirror.

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3 Responses to “The Death of Commercial Clam Dip”

  1. 2010 in review « Lizr128′s Blog Says:

    […] The Death of Commercial Clam Dip September 2010 3 […]

  2. Redux, Redux V « Lizr128′s Blog Says:

    […] I still think about Nora Miller and lots of other people apparently do, too, as my tribute to her (“RIP, Nora Miller”) receives at least two or three hits a week. For whatever reason, the second most popular entry seems to be “The Death of Commercial Clam Dip.”) […]

  3. clamslurper Says:

    Heluva Good, based in Sodus, NY (on Lake Ontario) was sold to Crowley Dairy some years ago, coincidental with the cited FDA regulatory changes regarding clam dip. I asked Heluva Good if they considered selling the dairy base to which customers could add clams (or shrimp, or crab meat, etc.). They stated they would NOT be producing the dairy product minus the clams, and they would not be packaging the dry ingredients (as does Lipton Soup for their onion soup / dip recipe). In the end, Heluva Good ain’t so good. At least, not since Crowley took over. I think Father Time, the founder, might have come up with a solution to allow we lovers of his clam dip a way to recreate the famed dip using his base with our clams. Alas, the recipe is under lock and key, and there’s been no one yet to come close to replicating it.

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