Photoplay Cookbook: Sam Hardy’s “Baked Clam in Shell”

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Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) Today, we will be testing a recipe from someone who can definitely be considered a “that guy” actor.

Sam Hardy is pretty obscure today but there is a very good chance that you have seen one of his performances. A stage veteran who had attended Yale before being bitten by the acting bug, Hardy made his first credited appearance in 1915. Hardy supported Marion Davies in Little Old New York, Colleen Moore in Orchids and Ermine and was leading man to Barbara Stanwyck in Mexicali Rose, a silent-talkie release that was only her second credited screen appearance.

The other Mr. Hardy
The other Mr. Hardy

Hardy continued to work steadily in the talkies. He played Benny the Gouge in Little Miss Marker and Weston in King Kong. His final credited role was as Big Steve Ogden in Powdersmoke Range, which was a reunion picture for western stars Harry Carey and Hoot Gibson. (The pair had not worked together in nearly twenty years.) That same year, Hardy passed away from surgical complications.

Now that we know a little about Mr. Hardy, let’s take a look at his recipe and see how it measures up.

Sam-Hardy-Baked-Clam-in-ShellNot terribly complicated but where will the flavor come from? Bread crumbs and eggs are not the most flavorful of foods and the canned clams don’t have the oomph of their fresh cousins.

Would I have to spring for fresh clams? Fortunately, I keep canned clams on hand at all times. My cat was abused by the “rescue” that had him. He staged a bold escape, I found him in a shrub and he is now a very spoiled little chap, though his eyes and respiratory system are still not 100%. (The vet is working on that and he has improved a lot.) Canned clams are his happy food.

Anyway, back to the recipe! It all went together pretty easily. I used store bought bread crumbs because I was lazy. I also did not obtain clam shells for displaying the recipe. In the first place, they’re hard to buy sans clam in my neck of the woods. In the second place, I am not sure it would have made a huge difference.

I baked the cakes at 350-degrees for about twenty minutes. (I should note that I live at a high altitude.)

When they came out, the cakes looked… Well, they looked disturbingly like cookies. Way, way too much like cookies.


Yeah, cookies.
Yeah, cookies.

And here is the taste test video:

My rating: 2 out of 5. These things are bland and dry, almost a chore to get through. There is nothing overtly nasty about them, they are just boring. Kind of like Talmadge sisters movies. (Ooo! Burn!)

Can it be improved? Not really. It needs a lot more moisture and flavor but adding these components would make it a totally different food. This needs an onion, some celery, a dash of cayenne and maybe some bacon (pork, turkey or veggie). Here’s a recipe that calls for more egg, dehydrated onion and deep-frying. Sounds yummy!

Other uses: That’s not to say that this recipe is useless. I am going to share something that is so evil, so heartless that I hesitate to post it lest it fall into enemy hands.

What the heck! Here is the plan. Make a batch of these clam cakes. Make a batch of oatmeal cookies. Mix them together on a pretty plate. Wrap them in colorful cellophane and tie a big bow on top. Leave them on the doorstep of that neighbor who always plays Nickelback at three a.m. Wait for the screams.

Oh, I am evil! I am, I am! (The no-cook version is to mix Skittles and M&M’s in the same candy bowl.)


  1. Michael Kuzmanovski

    I love your nefarious plan.

    I know that the word “supper” might have definitions that vary, but these baked in shell clams are an appetizer at best. I imagine that a better recipe might make these be similar to crab cakes.

  2. geelw

    Oh, you kid! I burst out laughing at the cookie ruse thing. I’d toss in a few macaroons just to make someone who likes those think they’ll be getting a whole plate for free. I’d have cheated and spiced up those bread crumbs and maybe added some crab meat to the mix. As for clamshells, hmmm… the only place to get them sans clam here are walking on a beach. There’s one kind of nearby (well, a few long miles away), but it’s the dead of winter and I don’t think you’d see many clams out for a stroll looking to trade their shells for a few shekels. Maybe one of those gel heating pads, perhaps?

  3. sistercelluloid

    Clammeal cookies!! Ew!! But your plan, as Mr. Burns would say, is ehhhxcellenntt… You can secretly rename the recipe “Clam Surprise.”

    I adopted an abused dog from a shelter, and he is also spoiled beyond belief. So I hear you about keeping good stuff on hand… Linus often eats better than I do.

    And YES! for the snap at the Talmadges!! Buster lovers everywhere agree…

    Yours clammily,


    1. Fritzi Kramer

      Yes, this evil scheme is the most cunning and diabolical of plans!

      The abused animals are definitely a challenge but so worth the effort. Poor little Petya was so neurotic and the bozos at the “rescue” took him from his mother too young so he had no idea how to be a cat. Fortunately, a stray boy wandered in (Olezhka!) and they are now the best of friends so the little guy is learning about this “cat” stuff.

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