Clam Dip — Still Tasty After All These Years

by | Dec 20, 2011 | Appetizers, Entertaining, Family Traditions, Recipes

For nearly 50 years clam dip has been served at my parent’s parties and family events

When I was a kid in the 1960’s my parents belonged to two dinner clubs. Each month the members of the clubs would take a turn hosting a dinner party at their house. When it was my mother’s turn to host “club” it was quite a production getting the house ready. I can remember using the electric floor polisher to polish the hardwood floors in the living room. The polisher was taller than I was. It had two rotating felt pads on the bottom and a long pole with handles to hold to control the polisher.  There was an electrical cord attached to the top portion of the pole and the other end would be plugged into the wall. I can remember polishing the floors a few times with no parental supervision. At least twice I lost control of the polisher (I think I may have lost control when I tried to ride it). It spun wildly around and around, the cord wound around me and the polisher. I don’t remember how the polisher was stopped. Apparently I did not get hurt, but I have to wonder why as a small child I was operating it in the first place.

An Electrolux floor polisher just like the one I used to polish the living room floor

Another big job that needed to be done for the dinner parties was polishing the silver. My mother had a set of Wallace Grand Baroque sterling silver flatware that would always be tarnished when it was time to entertain. We would use silver polish and cloth diapers to polish the silver. The silver polish would always get into the ornate handles and it would take some work to get it out. While this job was tedious, it was much safer than polishing the hardwood floor.

Wallace Grand Baroque sterling silver flatware

Prior to the guests arriving, ashtrays would be set out around the house and a silver cup with cigarettes in it would be placed on the coffee table in the living room so the guests could help themselves to a cigarette. I really can’t remember what my mother would serve for dinner for “club,” but I do remember that a lot of highballs were served along with clam dip and ridged dip chips before dinner was served.

A cup like this would be filled with cigarettes for the guests

Highballs made of whiskey and carbonated water were served

While the highballs aren’t flowing nowadays like they used to in the 60’s and you won’t find cigarettes at my parent’s parties or our family events, clam dip is still being served. On Christmas Eve our cousin Lori usually makes clam dip for us to eat while we wait for Santa to arrive and sometimes two family members bring it to our Fourth of July family reunion. The clam dip is almost always served with ridged dip chips and is gone before you know it. Below is Lori’s recipe from our cookbook.

Clam Dip


  • 1 6-ounce can of minced clams
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco


Drain the minced clams, reserving some of the clam juice in case it is needed later. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onion, lemon juice, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Add the clams and mix thoroughly. If the dip is too thick, add some of the clam juice and stir well. Serve with chips or crackers.


So I have a confession to make. In the morning after “club,” I would take sips of the highballs that were still on the coffee table and end tables. The highballs with the cigarette butts floating in them really didn’t taste that great.