My memories seem to be of windswept hair (always having to push bits of it out of my mouth and eyes), cold hands and wet dungarees as we ran up and down the beach at Point Defiance Park. We were a large family, adding cousins and friends we amounted to a small army descending upon the beach . We would set up camp and stay all day. My Uncle AD brought the trowels, shovels, and other digging utensils and someone else had the gigantic cast iron pot and firewood. Yes, the best clam chowder I ever ate was on the beach at Point Defiance. I am sure that safety regulations would not allow this today. This I imagine, is why one refers to the good “old” days, things were different then. I remember my Uncle telling me the clams left “clues” in the sand for us to find, different sizes and shapes of holes and one of my jobs was to look for these holes and tell the diggers. Once found, I remember falling on hands and knees, planting my knees deeply into the sand to aid in the digging of the clams. I doubt I was truly much help, however the simple pleasure of being on the beach and preparing a meal outdoors created a sense of camaraderie and imbued an excitement that was palpable. To find out how to dig for clams try this site: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/howto_dig.html (you may have to cut and paste).
Once the digging was done, the clams were steamed and the completed meal consisted of Clam chowder, fresh bread and fried clams, The clam chowder had potatoes, celery, onions, bacon and milk and of course fresh clams, the clams were battered with flour, bread crumbs, salt & pepper and deep-fried in hot oil. I remember the sea air builds an appetite, and people were quiet as they sat down to enjoy a hot bowl of chowder.