The clams looked inviting, in a foreign kind of way, sitting there on their bed of ice in the new farm shop Eggs to Apples. They reminded me of a sexy weekend in Catania, Sicily, sitting in a humming restaurant overlooking a black, volcanic beach. Linguine vongole, romantic as the weekend itself. All hot and steaming, sloppy to eat, but simple and satisfying - with a crisp white wine that the Sicilians are wise not to export.
The man at the fish counter spent time explaining how to cook them, he told me about tapping them to make sure they close and discarding the ones that didn't open in the cooking process. It was quite complicated, the kids asked many times how to do it - so did he, making sure we had got it right as one bad clam and we could be very ill indeed. Oh the excitement!
I kept them alive in the fridge for a whole night and tried not to think about them shivering in there, missing the sea bed and filtering for food.
They were delicious, they did not die in vain, every clam was eaten except one, who died in between the sea and the plate. The performance of eating them was perhaps a little more fun than the tiny creature itself, being masked in parsley, white wine, garlic and chilli - transporting us back to Italy, to a different time altogether.