I had a hunkerin’ today for Clam Dip. It was a lovely summer day, and Clam Dip was what my mother-in-law Flo would have made for me today if I wanted it.
I had a bad hunkerin’.
Problem is, I’ve never made Clam Dip.
Clam Dip was my mother-in-law’s specialty… her recipe… her domain. There’s no Clam Dip like Flo made.
Don’t get me wrong. Barry makes a mean Clam Dip. Audrey has the touch, too. It’s in their Portuguese genes. Even Audrey’s 4 boys look forward to Clam Dip likes it’s birthday cake.
But neither Barry nor Audrey has ever matched NanaFlo’s Clam Dip. I’m talking the exact texture and some secret ingredient.
Today, Barry was at work. Audrey was on her way home from Cincinnati. I was home alone, hunkerin’ for Flo’s Clam Dip.
The bad hunkerin’ was bad enough for me to go to the market and buy the ingredients. Yep. I did that. I felt I was venturing into territory where I didn’t belong. All I knew is that I needed minced clams, cream cheese, the juice of an onion (I’ve seen Barry do this hundreds of times) and, of course, ripple potato chips to dip with…
Before I attempted whipping up my Clam Dip to enjoy all by myself with that bag of chips, I remembered that I wanted to dig around our cellar and attic to find some 4th of July flags that I hadn’t seen since we had moved to our present home over 6 years ago.
I kinda felt that the Clam Dip would be a reward for my efforts to find the 4th of July flags.
I headed to our cellar and found a couple of things. Then I headed to our attic and began poking around.
Not a minute into my poking, I came across a blue, spiral-bound recipe book that looked familiar. It was familiar. It had belonged to Flo… and there it was, nesting in a pile of photograph albums. I gingerly picked it up and opened the front cover.
There, on the first page, was NanaFlo’s recipe for Clam Dip, written in her own hand…
I sat down on the rug in my attic and began to read this gift that NanaFlo had not only left, but had sent me to on this lovely summer day. As I read, I touched the words with my fingers… feeling Flo’s presence. Feeling her angel presence that I feel so often, but especially today. It is Flo who directed me to this wonderful find. I know this.
Then I began to read for details… secrets… in that Clam Dip recipe.
I wasn’t disappointed. There they were. Secrets…
2 cans of minced clams. (Not 1, like I had)
4 thin sliced garlic, minced
1 tsp. chopped parsley
2 tablespoons milk or cream
I had never seen Barry or Audrey use 2 cans of minced clams, garlic, parsley or the milk/cream thing for consistency. Texture. Perfection.
Flo had sent me the recipe. It was now my domain.
It is my domain!
I smiled and thanked Flo as I took the treasured recipe book to my kitchen… and sat and read through the entire book. I didn’t get my 4th of July stuff done. I didn’t even make it to the market to buy the rest of my Clam Dip ingredients.
But I savored every moment of Flo’s great gift.
Tomorrow, I will be making Clam Dip. I will be making Clam Dip with all of its ingredients, all of its secrets… and all of its love. I can’t wait.
Thanks, Mom. I love you and I miss you so very, very much. You know that this Grandma is carrying on your traditions. You are taking very good care of that! xox!