The surprising history of cockles – and why they’re disappearing
22nd July 2020
You might have heard of Molly Malone, selling cockles from a wheelbarrow in Dublin, or of Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, with her cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row — but the chances are most Gastropod listeners have never actually tasted a cockle.
And, apparently, you’re missing out! For the Native American tribes in the Puget Sound, where cockles used to be abundant, they’re a treasured treat: meatier, sweeter, and richer-tasting than other shellfish.
But they’re also disappearing, and no one knows why — or how to save them.
This episode, we join the team of intrepid marine biologists and tribal leaders on a mission to restore the cockle, on a journey that involves cockle viagra, a cockle vampire, and some carefully choreographed simultaneous spawning.
Listen in now for a story of shellfish science and cultural history that will warm the cockles of your heart — and perhaps inspire the revival of other indigenous foods.
Gastropod is the award-winning podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks.
Each episode, they look at the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food and/ or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec.
They interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs, and generally have lots of fun while discovering new ways to understand the world through food.