Come for the ponies, stay for the clam fritters(and a clam fritter book!) on swim back day

July 27, 2023


In late July, tourists swarm Chincoteague Island to see ponies. On the last day of this year’s pony penning week, Fri., July 28, 2023 from 2 to 4 p.m., Great Clam Cake and Fritter Guide author Carolyn Wyman will be at the Museum of Chincoteague, 7125 Maddox Blvd,  Va., to celebrate another local tradition: clam fritters.

In Virginia and nearby Maryland, clam fritters are clam-filled pancakes that are pan- or deep-fried and served on a bun or at the center of a picnic plate. They started out as fishermen fare — before outboard motors, clammers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia would stay out fishing for weeks at a time and the flour and lard they added to their catch to make an on-board meal of clam fritters didn’t spoil. Today the fritters are a major draw for local fundraising dinners and festivals like the Chincoteague Firemen’s Carnival taking place the evening of Wyman’s book signing and featured in her book.

Author Wyman’s recommended itinerary for July 28? “Watch the adult ponies swim back to Assateague in the morning, come to the museum to learn about local culture and get an autographed book in the afternoon, then dine on one of the premiere examples of the clam fritter genre at Carnival at night!”

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The Great Clam Cake and Fritter Guide (Globe Pequot, $21.95) is the definitive history, cookbook and travel guidebook to clam fritters and cakes from Maine to Virginia, containing recipes for traditional Eastern Shore style fritters and variations from volunteer fireman Andy Linton and Smith Island innkeeper and cookbook author Frances Kitching, information about the Chincoteague ponies and local firemen’s carnivals, and profiles of area fritter-serving restaurants like the Exmore Diner and Captain E’s Hurricane Grill.

Carolyn Wyman is the author of seven previous food books, including The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie BookBetter Than HomemadeSpam: A Biography,  Jell-O: A Biography and The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book.

Her book signing is free and open to the public. For more information visit or call 757-336-6117.

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