Happy as a Clam at Red Tide
October 7, 2011 7:50pm CST
I was watching this cooking demo and the guy was making angel hair pasta with chorizo and clams. Now, I really have come to the conclusion that I do not really like clams. Not that I have anything against them. I have been known to eat them on occasion but I just would not go out of my way for them and never buy them. I mean, if I'm at a buffet and they are there, I may take some but I would never order them or buy them at the store and I certainly do not want to cook them! Okay, so on to my title. I realize that this saying is a regional thing. I come from Southeastern Alaska which is basically a bunch of islands and peninsulas strung together into this huge archipelago so you know we have plenty of clams. I remember well going clam digging as a child and I grew up hearing the saying "happy as a clam at high tide". Naturally, we can understand where this saying comes from since it's impossible to dig clams at high tide. Well, as I got older I learned that there is a certain time when the clams are considered poisonous. They eat plankton and there is a red plankton that comes in on the tide that is called red tide so naturally, we don't dig clams on a red tide, either. Hence the modification on the old saying by saying "Happy as a clam at red tide." I know there are other sayings, catch phrases, that we modified to fit our region when I was growing up. I remember when "valley girl" talk was so popular, they were perpetuating the phrase, "Gag me with a spoon". Well, in Alaska we would say, "Gag me with a mukluk!" But I digress. The point is that the things we eat often work their ways into our metaphors and similes. What are some of those that you use and where did they come from? Have you modified any widely used phrases to suit your own region? Isn't it fun to do?
8 Oct 11
holy clams!, I did not know you had that problem too, thought it was only in the Philippines where we get red tide, terrible, when there's a red tide alert , shell fish is banned in provinces where it is spotted so that means no green mussels, oysters and clams, bad for the people that eat them like me and those who make a living from them, but good for the mollusks . Every time the ban is lifted, we observe an increase in size of what we buy in the market LOL.
• United States
8 Oct 11
I imagine a red tide is an occurrence anywhere there are shellfish that eat the plankton. Still, now that I'm living inland, many people have never heard of the phenomenon and so I find myself having to explain when my euphemism pops out of my mouth.lol...makes for very interesting conversation.