“Waiter, there’s a tree in my clam.”

So I found a small tree in a clam and when the waiter asked if everything was okay I said, “There’s a small tree in my clam” and the waiter was like, “Oh. Why?” As if I had put it there.

So he got the cook and she was like, “Oh, that’s his…what’s the word? His hair“. And that was not really comforting but English was not her first language so I googled “What’s in my clam” and turns out it’s his beard. Apparently “bearded clam” is not just a euphemism for a lady garden. So then I asked the waiter if we were supposed to eat the bearded clam and he was like, “I wouldn’t” and then pointed out that it was not a clam at all and was a mussel so now I’m even more confused.

63 thoughts on ““Waiter, there’s a tree in my clam.”

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Yep, a mussel which was not properly debearded in the kitchen AND they tried to pretend it was a clam. What kind of shady place was this?

  2. Wow, learn a little something every day. Those are apparently the fibers the mussel uses to cling to rocks. Who knew?

  3. Interesting search on google for mussel beard. I never knew any of this.

  4. I sure didn’t know they looked like that! That’s not a beard! It’s a forest! I had to look it up but apparently it won’t hurt you but doesn’t taste good and also shows that they were not properly cleaned because it shouldn’t have been served to you like that. Still, it makes a good story!

  5. This right here is just one of the many reasons that I do not eat bivalves.

  6. I’ve eaten too many bearded clams to count, and this dear friend is no bearded clam. It is a bearded mussel, the most heavily bearded mussel I’ve seen. And this isn’t the kitchen staff just being lazy, the beard wasn’t removed as an attempt at humor, or possibly a social experiment judging by the responses. I was quick to admit my affinity for eating in the area of a lady garden, a euphemism I’m sure to work into conversation again, very soon.

  7. God knows what this will do to your Google search algorithm…expect ads for crustacean personal grooming products to begin popping up.

  8. I have to say it again Jenny Lawson. I love you. Not in a stalkerish way. Just in the way that even in the midst of a health crisis, you pull me back into the fun of living while I have Jenny sharing things with me that make me smile, laugh, or learn something new.

  9. It kind of looks like something I ate at Alinea many years back, but pretty sure that was intentional and artsy and wholly edible, not…this. (As an aside, I judged the national speech & debate competition last week, and a quote from you came up as an impromptu speech prompt…..along with quotes from such luminaries as Mother Theresa, Michael Jordan, and Mace Windu! Good company!)

  10. See, this is why I stopped eating stuff from the ocean. It’s all too confusing.

  11. I…
    For a hot minute, I thought it was the chef’s hair the waiter was talking about.
    And today, I learned that beards on mussels was a thing.

  12. So would we still say it was in need of some “clam-scaping” even if it’s actually a mussel?

  13. I dont think that is the beard tbh. It looks like seaweed that was stuck in the shell before cooking. The beard looks more like tiny threads. You can just pull it out and eat the mussel. But, in some places they use clams for everything that is a water mullousc regardless if genus.

  14. Wow, I guess it is difficult to find good kitchen help in restaurants these days…
    Poor mussel was just minding its business, happily attached to some plant life on a rock in the sea, and then scraped up, and trucked to some kitchen, and then served to you without even proper grooming to be on your plate.

  15. Who in the HELL decided to go ahead and serve that in a restaurant? Is that only visible after you open the mussel/clam? As you can tell, I’m not an adventurous eater.

  16. Once i found a bunch of baby crabs inside my mussel. I don’t eat mussels anymore

  17. Lady, this is the optometrist. The Groinacolgist is across the hall.

  18. I actually think that it’s beautiful. It looks like a small ecosystem art photo

  19. You add so much class and panache to my google search history.

  20. “And she never ate there again…….” This just adds another item to the already overflowing list of things that I will never eat.

  21. Wait, is that thing that looks like a sprig of thyme the beard?

    (Yup. ~ Jenny)

  22. They couldn’t just leave it for the seagulls, Someone had to serve it in a restaurant for humans.

  23. I’m never eating another clam…or mussel…beard or no…again…puke

  24. There is a woman in Greece who harvests the beards from mussels to make a silky fabric! Very labor intensive and singing is involved. …in case you want a new hobby…

  25. There was an old woman of Greece
    Who made cloth from beard of the seas
    A bling sailor strode by
    Sniffed his nose to the sky and said
    get ready gals here comes the fleet

  26. I have an irrational fear of fish and non mammals in the sea, I also don’t eat them because yuck. this just gives me another reason why I don’t eat sea food. Also all the comments here are pure gold lol. I don’t know why this s$&@ happens to you but you always making it entertaining. You are a pure gift.

  27. Back in ’83 when my favourite radio station went “Rock of the 80’s”, they used to play a local band called Killer Pussy. They basically had two songs: the now-legendary “Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage” (I don’t care if it is old and silly, so am I and we both ROCK) and “Bikini Wax”, which carried this wisdom for the ages:

    “…So take a tip from me
    and don’t get stuck in a jam
    It’s time to trim the sideburns
    on your bearded clam!”

    Dude, I was 15 and I thought that shit was HILARIOUS.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

  28. And with just being able to see his elbow, for some reason, I think I know the exact expression that Victor is wearing as he watches you take a picture of the tree growing in the clam in your food.

  29. It’s a leftover from the pandemic. Everyone thinks beards are just cool now. Don’t be surprised to find a man-bun on your next lobster.

  30. FYI, if you want safe-for-work googling substitute “holdfast” or “byssus” for beard. 🙂

  31. That looks like a sprig of thyme. Beards should be removed before cooking. The cleanliness level concerns me if that’s really the beard. And that’s def a mussel.

    Don’t order shellfish in central Texas!

  32. Wow, this article had me laughing out loud! I can relate to those awkward moments when you’re dining out and something unexpected happens. Your storytelling skills are on point, and I eagerly read to see what happened next.

  33. A tree in your clam? I have to say the picture was nothing like the one in my head.

  34. What. the. heck. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to eat again. 🤢

  35. I eat shellfish a lot, and have never seen this! So that’s the new thing I learned today.

  36. Just attended a paella cooking class in Barcelona. Had never prepped raw mussels, clams, calamari before. In prep, you are supposed to grab that “beard” and sharply yank to snap it off. (Yuck.) Be aware that the cleaning of fresh calamari is far worse… thank you to all those laboring in restaurant kitchens to regularly spare many us these tasks!

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