As a young kid in the summer, my family would pack up and head north for a week to my uncle’s house in Groton Long Point, CT. My favorite part of the trip was the big clambake feast that showed up in a shiny rolled steel canister from Abbott’s, just down the road in Noank. This vessel of local ocean love was filled with lobsters, clams, mussels, corn on the cob, and potatoes – all of these tasty morsels nestled between layers of fresh ocean seaweed.
We would drop this bad boy right on a hot fire and cook it until the yard filled up with the sweet smell of ocean eats.
As my uncle and dad wrestled this kettle of awesomeness to the picnic table, we sat with wooden mallets in eager anticipation. With our plastic bibs, we would eat until there was nothing left but seaweed, cobs and shells, drawn butter having slicked up the tablecloth to the point where my iced tea would no longer stay where I put it.
I am not sure if this was my first lobster experience, but it is the one that made me appreciate the relationship between your locale and what you are putting in your belly. Lobster tastes better when you are sitting a stone’s throw from the beach in New England; that makes sense.
To say that this one meal has influenced my career or style of cooking wouldn’t be wrong, but I feel that there is a bigger truth. Good food enhances your life. My family vacations were great, but throw in a couple of meals like this and great turns into awesome. The favorite meals of my life – backyard picnics, Sunday dinners at Casa de Titter, paella on the beach in Valencia, small Mexican joints in Phoenix – all have a common theme; time spent with those I care most about. This is the energy that drives me to enjoy every minute I spend with my friends and family. I feel that my responsibility as a chef is to help facilitate that impact in other’s lives – offering food that helps make the dining experience with friends and family that much better.
The Pressroom Restaurant
26-28 West King Street, Lancaster PA