When I met my husband Barry all those decades ago, I had never heard of something called Clam Dip.
And when I visited Barry’s Mom, Flo, for the first time, I didn’t particularly feel that I wanted to taste something called Clam Dip.
But I did. Because that’s what you do when you meet your guy’s Mom for the first time and she’s put out something called Clam Dip.
Well, I would love my first taste of Clam Dip as it hovered on top of and overflowed to the sides of a crispy rippled potato chip… or two (or 50).
Clam Dip was one of Flo’s many, many staple recipes. She had a knack for it. I never saw her use a recipe… it just appeared, magically whipped high and fluffy in her special Clam Dip bowl.
Barry became quite the Clam Dip aficionado, too, as the years went along. He would whip some up in his own magical way, a little different than Flo’s, but I’m-just-gonna-say-it, just as good.
I, for one, never ventured there. There was something so special about Clam Dip that I didn’t want to ruin the magic.
‘Til one day last week.
My 6-year old grandson Alex was with me for the morning, before his afternoon Kindergarten. We played some Wii, we played Webkinz, we went outside for awhile.
Then Alex got hungry.
He opened my kitchen cabinets looking for something…. something… and spotted a bag of Michael’s Gold n’ Good Ripple Potato Chips. I know Alex loves these chips and that’s why I buy them.
I was thinking… thinking… I hope Alex doesn’t want these for lunch.
But, no. Alex wanted his favorite potato chips with Clam Dip.
Oh, yes. Alex and his 3 brothers love Clam Dip.
But that would be Pop-up’s Clam Dip. Grandma ain’t no-way, no-how interfering with the magic of Flo’s and now Barry’s Clam Dip.
“Um, Honey… ” I began. “Grandma doesn’t know how to make Clam Dip.”
“Can you call Pop-up and ask him how?” Alex asked as he held his bag of potato chips.
Don’t panic. Don’t panic, Sharon, I thought to myself.
I went to my recipe book cabinet and pulled out one of my treasured items… Flo’s handwritten My Favorite Recipes binder. I had found it after Flo passed away and there was her Clam Dip recipe along with her most famous dishes. I gently opened the binder as I explained to Alex what this book was and the secrets it held…
… and I discovered that although I had most of the ingredients, I didn’t have the necessary parsley or garlic with which to create Flo’s Clam Dip.
Alex would not be discouraged. “Call Pop-up,” he repeated. “He knows how to make Clam Dip.”
So I did.
Barry walked me through his version of his Mom’s recipe, making sure that I had ORIGINAL “Brick” Philadelphia Cream Cheese (“not squeeze or low-fat anything”) and Snow’s MINCED Clams (“not CHOPPED clams”).
Yes. And yes.
And I made my first Clam Dip from my husband’s recipe, with my darling little grandson as my helper chef as angel NanaFlo smiled over our shoulders…
Open minced clams, drain clam juice and set juice aside.
I guess Flo was reminding me that if your grandchildren want something, you just make it for them… just like she made her Clam Dip for Alex’s Mommy, Audrey.
That was NanaFlo’s mantra. That’s what she lived by. Love. Food. Love.
All this time, I was afraid to mess up a special recipe… and it took a husband, a grandchild and an angel to set me straight.
Or fluffy. Just like MY CLAM DIP!
And Alex? He’s got Clam Dip running through his veins…
And, oh… that WAS Alex’s lunch! Love. Food. Love. Even if it’s just Clam Dip and ripple potato chips.