Home is where the Lobsters are.
August 29, 2010 § 2 Comments
New England Clam Bakes are considered culture, right? I think they are, so I’m going to tell you the story of my first ever New England Clam Bake.
Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera, so all these pictures are taken with my phone, which takes pretty decent pictures but of course it’s not the same.
This is a picture of my mother-in-law holding one of the lobsters. Apparently, it’s tradition to play with the live lobsters after they are bought and before they get dumped into the pot. Of course, I didn’t know this, and when I found out I pulled out all the lobsters and started to play with them.
Apparently lobsters don’t like waiting for their death, so the lobsters were pretty poor sports, and they wouldn’t do anything for me. I tried racing two against each other and they didn’t do so much as twitch their little feelers at me. And I tried making them fight, you know like cock fights or dog fights? but I think these lobsters were pretty much tired of waiting for their own death and didn’t feel like being pitted against each other. So I tried to revive them in the sink with water.
They perked right up too, (this picture is before I stuck the second lobster in with it) although instead of fighting against each other, they started fighting me. One of started kicking water back in my face, seriously, no joke. And all this entertained me a good while until I got to drop them in the pot.
So this is a picture of my second attempt at putting the lobster in the boiling pot. On my first attempt I literally chunked the lobster in the boiling water and it all splashed over my husband’s Uncle–who wasn’t happy about having very hot water splashing on his face and arms, but my brother-in-law kept saying how the lobsters seem to come alive when hanging over a boiling pot and try to snap at you, and those pinchers looked like they would hurt. I did better on my second attempt. And I’m assuming it’s okay to eat lobster after it’s been tramping around in a sink with dirty knives and on the floor that I guess has been swept but who really knows, because no one said anything about it, and I guess the water was hot enough to boil all those sediments off it. It sure tasted good, too.
(In case you didn’t know, lobsters are fully cooked when they’re bright bright red. This was new information for me, figured I’d pass it along.)
Turns out, clam bakes are not all that different from crawfish boils, ‘cept of course you don’t boil crawfish. And the other different thing was that everything was boiled separately and there was not a speck of cajun seasoning to be found–only liquid butter and salt and lemons for flavoring–so everything kinda tasted the same, especially when you put it all in the same pot and there was a lot of water still hidden in the lobster shells.
The house we stayed at was my husband’s childhood home in Maine, and what I love most about the house is that it reminds me of my great-grandmother’s house. Oh, and it reminds me of Thanksgiving (I know, weird huh?). See, where I come from–and I don’t mean Texas, I mean my family–we have like a bazillion family members that gather around this tiny table packed with food in this tiny house with a giant backyard filled with dead leaves and an old clothesline and a rickety porch swing. And the Maine house and the clam bake are absolutely nothing like that, but the feeling is there. This wonderful, really cool relaxed feeling of being able to sit or nap or lay out in the yard and do absolutely nothing and it’s okay. Time sort of stops and you leave with this really nice fulfilling-feeling.
Maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I think it’s nice and really odd that I am halfway across the country–literally–as far north as I’ve ever been before and I found home. And not just any home, but my childhood home, and it’s nice to think that maybe I’m not a million miles away from my family after all–I’m only a hop, skip, and a jump down the road.