When John first came to Rhode Island and heard that we eat clam cakes, lets just say his first reaction was not "oh I must eat one right now!" Clams....in a cake?? Are you Yankees ok?? No it's not a cake, really more like a fritter. In fact the batter that I use is from a local company called Drum Rock and is called "Clam Cake and Fritter Batter". I buy it in 5 pound bags. You use 1 pound per batch of clam cakes, which sounds like a lot, but it's really not. The directions are right on the package. You just add water, clams, let it sit then scoop and deep fry them. I use canola oil for mine. Once they are golden brown you take them out of the oil and let them drain on a brown paper bag. This is a must....no colanders or paper towels...it must be a brown paper bag cause well...that's tradition.
Clam cakes have been consumed in Rhode Island since the turn of the century. Most Rhode Islanders had their first clam cakes at the Rocky Point Chowder House in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Here's a really old post card of the Shore Dinner Hall.
The Chowder House was right outside the Rocky Point Amusement Park and once you finished up with the rides, you either went and ate at the Shore Dinner Hall (a huge banquet house that hosted clambakes and boils and sat 1000 people) or you went to the smaller Chowder House and got clam cakes and chowder, cause the best way to eat a clam cake is to dip it in your chowder. While the amusement park and dinner hall are now gone, the Chowder House is still making clam cakes as they did throughout the 20th century. My Gram made clam cakes too and they were pretty close to the Chowder House ones, but she didn't have the amusement park to go along with them.
You really have to have the clam cake mix to make these. I'm telling you it's worth your while to get some. If you really want to make them, you can get the mix right from Drum Rock here. I know they sound disgusting but they are scrumptious. After John took his first bite of one, he was hooked. You will be too.