Every summer, the weekend before Labor Day, for the last twelve years, my family, my families family, my families friends, and friends of family friends all descend on this one quiet neighborhood in Long Island for a weekend to rival all others throughout the year.
Each year the clambake seems to outdo itself. I never was really that hip on the origination of the clambake itself but this year was an especially poignant one as I’m getting married one week later and leaving the City which I’ve called home all my life to relocate to a completely different time zone; embarking on a completely new and exciting adventure. So while I’ve planned to spend all next August (and therefore, next years clambake) on the east coast; life has a clever way of dealing us all funny blows so who knows what the next 12 months will engender. I’m just prepared for what’s in front of me today and I’d love to share with you a little bit of the history as well as my own photo journal on Associated Content of the clambake experience.
Much to my surprise the clambake is actually a New England tradition and is endemic to the coastal waters of New England. While it’s probably very much a Red Socks/Yankees thing, I’m sure my dad and uncle, who grew up clamming and fishing along the Atlantic Bays of the home in Long Island, would beg to differ. Or maybe not, but I don’t know.
Clambakes begin with gathering seaweed. This is an important step as it helps the food cook in a correct manner. You also need to have many medium sized round stones to heat in a fire that you dig in a pit. Confused yet? It’s an exciting thing to watch transpire and very much fun.
While the pit is being prepared with a fire roaring and the stones heating, others are busily wrapping potatoes and clams into protective cheese cloth. Once the heat has been attained and the stones are the correct temperature, ash is swept aside and stones are maneuvered between to create the ‘coals’ for the fire. Wet seaweed is then dropped into place and then food is placed atop that. The manner we do it is corn on the cob on the bottom (still in its husk) then clams, potatoes, and live lobsters on top. A tarp is brought out; several tarps, and the cover is left in place and it’s set to cook.
You should check out the pictures for a more visual experience of what the 2016 Long Island Clambake was all about!
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