Site icon The Wickeds

Clambakes — Who’s Been to One?

Winslow Homer, 1873
Winslow Homer, 1873

Still celebrating the release of Boiled Over, we’re talking about clambakes we might or might not have partaken of.

Liz: I’ve never been to a real clambake. I think I was at a party once where there were clams and mussels cooked (or whatever you call it) outside but I’m not sure it was official. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, being from New England, but I had no idea there was such a thing as the clambake experience Barb’s series is built on until I read Clammed Up. It sounds so amazing!

Edith: My friends Karen and Mike were married in a church, but their reception was on

Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. 1880. From a trade card advertisement, Melville Garden, Hingham, Massachusetts

their own basin beach in Newburyport at low tide nine years ago. And the meal was a clambake of sorts. Except it wasn’t cooked on the spot. And I was having such a bad allergy day that I couldn’t taste a thing. Between the antihistamine I’d taken and the couple of glasses of champagne, I’m surprised I even remember that it was a clambake menu. I’m thinking the Wickeds are going to have to take a road trip to Maine this summer…

Julie: I would love to go to a clambake like the one in the series. I’ve never been to one with that level of detail. I have been to beach clambakes with corn and clams, maybe some fish. There is a place on the Cape that makes a “clambake to go”–lobster, clams, and corn in a netting bag, which makes do when I need a fix. And I have a friend who did a Portuguese clambake, which is clams, potatoes, onions, corn, and clams in layers and all cooked together. Delish.

Sherry: I’ve been to one clambake — in Wyoming. And doesn’t everyone associate clambakes and Wyoming? Some friends of mine decided they could throw one. They dug a hole in the backyard — I’ll bet their neighbors loved that — threw some coals in, followed by the food, covered it and cooked it all day. That evening a group of us gathered. Unfortunately, unlike in Barb’s series, there were no magic eggs to tell them the food was done. The potatoes were like rocks, the clams suspect, and only the corn was somewhat done. Clammed Up taught me the fire is key and I would never attempt to do one at home.

Jessie: I’ve never been to a clambake. The closest experience I ever had was aboard my great-grandparents’ lobster boat when I was four years old. My mother, who never had any luck at all fishing, felt something particularly heavy on her line. When my grandfather hauled it in they found she had hooked an orphaned lobster pot. It was full of lobsters and for the first time ever my mother had the best catch of the day. Grandpa and my father rowed a dinghy to a nearby island and dug clams to go with the lobsters and the whole meal was steamed up in the galley of the boat. I don’t really remember eating any of it but I do remember how pleased everyone was by all the excitement.

Round Pond

Barb: I’d had plenty of clambake meals before I wrote Clammed Up. One of our family’s favorite things to do is to go to the Muscongus Bay Lobster Company in Round Pond, Maine. They serve chowder, lobster, steamers and corn. The view is stupendous and the atmosphere informal and lively as families arrive bearing wine, salads and desserts to add to the meal. However, before I wrote Clammed Up, I’d never been to the Cabbage Island Clambake. Because we live in Boothbay Harbor in the summer, I’d heard of it, of course. And Maine author Lea Wait told me one of her daughters had her wedding reception there. I wrote my proposal in November, got the verbal go ahead in January and signed my contract with Kensington in March. As a result, I had to write the whole first draft before I could go out to Cabbage Island when they opened in June. But I’m glad for that, because it gave free rein to my imagination. When I finally did get out the the island, the Moore family were incredibly generous about answering my many questions.

Edith: Sounds like none of us has been to a real Maine clambake, except for Barb. Barb, when would you like to expect us so we can all go out to Cabbage Island?

Readers: Who has had a good clambake? Or a bad one? Have you even been to Maine?

Exit mobile version