This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The late Sam Ward could probably have named a dozen different ways of cooking the delicious bivalve - for a clam is a bivalve - and would have named Chateau Yquem as the wine to take with clams. The most esteemed kind in New York is the "Little Neck" clam (so called from a neck of land on Long Island Sound, where they abound), a small round clam of a charming flesh color. It is served on the half-shell, raw, as the first course in dinners of the highest order. It is eaten off the half-shell at every corner along the wharves of New York. There are "soft-shell" clams, too, and there are "razor-back clams," the secrets of the cooking whereof are known unto the "Ichthyophagous Club." "Clam chowder" would tickle the palate of a London alderman, and in the proper confection thereof the great Daniel Webster excelled. "Clam bakes" are an occasion of much festivity on the New England coast; but Rhode Island has a proud pre-eminence for these feasts. The large kind called quahogs are only part eatable; that part, which looks like a string, is used mostly in soups and chowder, but is fried as well.
A large kind having a brittle crumbly shell, not soft and eatable like a soft crab's; they are good for fries and broils.
The same ways as fried oysters.
Same as oysters.
They are usually served in their shells, which are of a good shape for the purpose; scalded first, they are taken up, and a thick white sauce is made of their liquor; the clams put back in it, spoonfuls in shells breaded over the top, and browned in the oven. - Roasted in the shells, and steamed, they are treated and served as oysters.
The same thing with clams as fish chowder.
A seaside hotel-keeper's specialty; a chowder containing tomatoes and herbs, such as thyme, marjoram and parsley in addition to the regular ingredients. "Sam Ward" used to say: "Don't put salt pork in your clam chowder".
Like the foregoing; a thick soup or thin stew containing tomatoes, clams, onions, potatoes, bay leaf, herbs, etc., started by frying the main ingredients together until half-cooked, then adding broth and little wine.
A white, thick soup with potatoes, clams, etc.; no tomatoes.
It is put up in cans; the plain variety of chowder, and only needs to have crackers and more liquor added, or tomato soup added.
Same as oysters.