| Sunday, July 21, 2013 |
On Saturday I tagged along (as I do most years) with my
husband, Stephen, to the annual Audiofile lobster bake in Boothbay Harbor (a
picturesque, mid-coast Maine village for those of you unacquainted with our
local geography). Stephen is an
audiobook narrator (among other things) and Audiofile is the industry magazine
which is published right here in Portland, Maine. The Editor/Publisher is gracious enough to
open her camp up to about 100 people every summer for what is, in my opinion,
the best lobster/clam bake EVER! And
I’ve grown up on the New England coast,so that’s saying something.
There is no easy, backyard way to have a lobster bake--you
need a beach, seaweed, ocean water, and fire--before you even begin to think
about lobsters and clams. The easiest
way I’ve found to enjoy a lobster bake is get myself invited, via Stephen, to
Boothbay for the Audiofile’s lobster bake.
If I am so moved to have lobster at home--I simply steam them.
Of course, the flavor difference is amazing...the lobster bake
leaves everything super fragrant and lightly smoked. Once it’s on your plate there is much less
water in the lobster then there would be with steaming or boiling, which makes
is neater and easier to eat (though you still need to drain it-just not so
much). A steamed lobster is really an
unadulterated lobster flavor--super sweet, sometimes almost too sweet.
I asked Martin Page and his crew if I could photograph them
while they prepared the feast and they were very kind and let me get in their
way. Martin is a Mainer--Maine is a place
you live in out of choice, even if your family has been here forever. In many parts of Maine it’s necessary to work
multiple small jobs to keep afloat.
Martin does things like this lobster bake, he has a wrecker, and is the
local port-a-potty guy--yes, the port-a-potty at the party was one of his
units. Martin had also worked as a
commercial fisherman off Newburyport and Plum Island, Massachusetts (my
hometown ). He didn’t like the nature of
the work (and I don’t mean the fishing itself), but the method: A plane would
direct them to a school of fish and three boats would go out and net the whole
lot. He feels that dollar signs and
natural resources are a dangerous mix.
The following photos are a walk through the process--the
lobsters and clams are alive until they are cooked, it can be a bit
disquieting. But it is part of our
tradition. Lobster bakes are not solo
things; they bring people together, community and food, nourishing to the body