Geoduck (1882)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Nov 7 05:36:11 UTC 2002

   OED and Merriam-Webster both have 1883 for "geoduck."  I'm sorry that I have only 1882, but it's a decent 1882 citation from the American Periodical Series.  I gotta do something for Allen Maberry up there in Washington.

   29 April 1882, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, pg. 264:
   _The Geoduck._
   The following extract from a list of shells sent with some specimens to Mr. George W. Tryon, jr., the Conservator of the Conchological Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, by Mr. Henry Hemphill, appears to me to be of importance as a contribution to economical science, and with Mr. Tryon's permission I am allowed to make use of it for publication.
   "_Glycimeris generosa_.  Olympia, Washington Territory.
   "I send you a fine large specimen of this species.  Its flesh is, I think, the most delicious of any bivalve I have ever eaten, not excepting the best oysters.
   "When first dug and laid upon its back, it resembles a fat plump duck.  The edges of the shell do not meet, but are separated by a breast of flesh (the greatly thickened mantle) about three inches wide, one inch thick, and about a foot long, including about half of its siphon.  This portion is cut into thin slices, rolled in meal, and fried.  It is exceedingly tender, juicy, and sweet, and about the consistency of scrambled eggs, which it resembles very much in taste.  The boys at Olympia call them'Geoducks;' they dig them on a certain sand bar at extreme low tide, and sell them to a merchant who ships them to Portland, Oregon, where they readily sell at fair prices.  The boys inform me that the Indians on the Sound call them Quenux, and dry them for food with the other clams."
   --_Bulletin U. S. Fish Commission_.

   23 February 1883, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 4:
   But the oolachan pales before something called the "geoduck."  This name alone has an inviting sound.  You find the geoduck principally in Puget SOund and in San Diego Bay, though it is scattered all along the coast from San Francisco to the north.  It might be a pity to call it a clam, though it belongs to that humble family, and unpoetical naturalists call it _Glycimeris generosa_.  The terminal name, however, shows that the scientific person who baptized it was somewhat touched by its great merits.  (...)  The method of cooking is to cut off four pounds of geoduck in slices, to roll it in meal, and to fry it.  Then, says a gustatory critic, "You have something like scrambled eggs, but with a flavor of its own."  Why should not the geoduck be sent to us?  If we have given the west coast our shad they might return favors by sending us their geoduck for cultivation.  We ought to try and propogate this prince of clams.

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