Sorry to hear about your scallop trouble. Any allergy that results in such violent illness that a shiitake mushroom pops out of your nose needs to be respected. Scallops are funny, though. Did you know that the scallop has fifty eyes, and that
they're blue? They are very simple eyes, naturally, just tiny bluish
light-sensing neural dots arranged around the edge. They can "see"
predators approaching and shadowing them, and they clap their shells
together and fly away. I used to see them do this in their tanks at the
Seattle Aquarium when I volunteered there. It's been on some nature shows,
too. The part of the scallop that humans eat is the strong, lean muscle
that does the shell-clapping. That's why you don't see any weird,
greenish-black guts in there, like you do with other bivalves.
There's no point in mussels having eyes. That would just be cruel. Mussels
are screwed, when it comes to predators. Mussels attach themselves to rocks
and piers by producing byssal threads, those dark or amber-colored, really
tough, ... thready things that are always stuck on their shells. Byssal
threads are such a good adhesive that adhesive companies have tried to
reproduce that material. Maybe they've already succeeded. Try to stand up
now, as an experiment. If you can't, you're a mussel. But you can always
cheer yourself up by buying some stuff. In fact, that's what the adhesive
companies had in mind. Mussels look sort of like female genitalia. To me,
Clams escape from predators by digging. When you find a clamshell with a
neat round hole drilled in it, you'll know that one didn't dig fast enough.
Predators that can't steam clams open, or bash them on rocks or pry them
apart with their beaks, usually have raspy tongues they use to drill right
through the shell, and then they suck them out. You could really wear out
your tongue if you try this. It's a bad idea. And don't try to suck them
out, if you do. There could be sand in there. If you buy live clams in
order to murder and eat them, put them in a bucket of water with some
cornmeal for "a while," don't ask me how long, and they will oblige you by
eating the cornmeal and expelling the sand. You'll still be eating clam
shit, but it won't be sandy. The foot of the large Pacific Northwest clam
known as the geoduck looks sort of like male genitalia. To me, anyway.
Oysters are the ones everyone thinks of as an aphrodisiac. It must be the
zinc. They don't look like anyone's genitalia. Except to another oyster.
I can't tell you much about them, except that large-scale oystering is done
with dredges and is pretty destructive; it's strip-mining for food. Also,
something about pearls. If your life is crappy (say, you're vomiting so hard that a mushroom comes out of your nose) and some idiot tries
to tell you that the wise old oyster takes life's little irritations and
turns them into lovely pearls, remember: there's nothing in it for the