New England specialties for Jim is getting to see his cousins, Bob and Donna Parker of Dartmouth.
The south has nothing on New England when it comes to hospitality. Bob and Donna have made it a point to make sure we are comfortable, (we’re parked in their yard) and that I get to taste everything New England has to offer and then some.First they introduced us to their favorite fish market in a pouring rain. You need to be first in the door, Bob told us. He is a retired school teacher but his sideline was lobstering. He educated me roundly on lobsters, oysters, tools, quahogs, star fish, sea shells, their uses and more.
Months before we arrived in Jim’s old stomping grounds, he had been hankering for a real, live Maine lobster with his cousin Bob and a real French meat pie. Donna, also a retired school teacher, still works part time as a consultant and her specialty is a clam boil. So she got all the ingredients for a clam boil. Jim, of course, has tasted all these wonders before. I’m the newby. On the way home from the fish market, Donna took us to meet her teacher friend, Dave, whose sideline is making Portuguese meat pies and gravy, a local specialty. We bought some to take home.
First, she soaks the clams in deep water with salt to spit out the sand. Floaters are tossed. Donna puts lingueisa, hot dogs, and pork sausages in net bags. Then arranges the potatoes on the bottom. The clams layer next with the meat to the side. The clams need room to open. The onions and corn on top. Seasoned with garlic power, pepper, and salt. About 2 inches of water to steam everything for 45 minutes.
Then Donna brought out a stuffed quahog to snack on while we waited for the clams to boil. When she makes them the clam is ground with the juice and onions, peppers, parsley, bread and seasonings. Yum.
Bob then taught me how to properly prepare a lobster for the pot. You prop it on its claws and pet it until it sleeps. Then when it goes into the pot, it won’t move and all the juice stays in the tail.
I thought he was teasing, but its true. They will remain in position and die instantly when their heads hit the water. So, we sat for the feast.
Sometime between fish market and feast, Donna went out and found a French meat pie and surprised Jim with it. So, we feast again another day and compare meat pies.
There is a large Portuguese population in the area. Donna, who is half Portuguese, came to the door on Sunday morning with a special treat from her favorite bakery, a loaf of Portuguese Sweet Bread and a meltingly delicious doughnut called a “mollie”. Foodies like me live for moments like this.
We are becoming so spoiled. I can’t wait for them to visit California so I can return the favor.
This may be dirty pool, but while Donna was went back to the car in the rain, Bob held her purse. And good sport that he is, he let me take this dashing picture of him.