Molluscs: Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, Squid, and Relatives

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Molluscs are the strangest creatures we eat. Take a close look sometime at an intact abalone or oyster or squid! But strange or not, molluscs are plentiful and delicious. Judging by the massive prehistoric piles of oyster, clam, and mussel shells that dot the planet’s seacoasts, humans have feasted on these conveniently sluggish creatures from the earliest days. This highly successful and diverse branch of the animal kingdom got its start half a billion years ago and currently includes 100,000 species, double the number of fish and animal species with backbones, from snails just a millimeter across to giant clams and squids.