Food Stories

History of the New England Clambake

By Suzannah Schneider | July 21, 2014

Photo by andrewyang

Marcus is hosting a traditional New England clambake on the Jersey Shore this Saturday at The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. In preparing for the event, many of us here in the Marcus Samuelsson Group offices recently found ourselves quite curious about the custom. We turned to trusty Google to learn more, and wanted to share our findings with you.

Today, clambakes are no longer exclusive to New England, as they are incredibly popular in Ohio and even California. There are also endless variations in technique and ingredients. For instance, some clambakes include sausages and other meat. In the past, seafood was not considered an adequate protein source for the men doing the hard labor of digging and gathering for the clambake, so meat was added for energy. This is why some clam chowder includes ham bone or bacon. Other menu items for a clambake can include lobster, white potatoes, corn, and cold beer; the only universal item is steamed clams. Clambakes have also been streamlined in recent years with the use of enormous stainless-steel pots heated by propane burners.

We were astonished to learn that clambakes have been a tradition in New England for over 2,000 years. Native American tribes of states such as Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut have long cooked clams and lobsters in sand pits as means of subsistence. In fact, it is possible to still stumble upon remnants of historic cooking pits in Rhode Island.

A traditional clambake begins by digging a pit in the sand of the beach where the clams are gathered. The pit is a product of centuries past: Native Americans did not have massive cooking pots, so they used the earth as their cooking vessel. The pit is then filled with seaweed, lined with hot rocks or stones that have been heated until white-hot over a wood fire. Next, live clams, mussels, and lobsters are added, and the pit is covered with more seaweed and some sand. Finally, a wet tarp of canvas or plastic is laid over all until the food is cooked.

The end product of a clambake is not necessarily a decadent meal. Clambakes are the types of cultural traditions that don’t just feed the participants. Instead, they are deeply nourishing events for the individual and the community. Kathy Neustadt’s book Clambake paints a vivid picture of the Allen’s Neck Friends Meeting’s annual clambake in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, which has occurred on the third Thursday of August since 1888 (!). Neustadt discusses how the event is inclusive, relying on the abilities of every individual.  She also emphasizes how clambakes revere the surrounding environment, relying on the fertile soil and easy access to the ocean to create the custom. Clambakes exist as a reminder of ancestry as time marches on.

Few meals are as fulfilling as a clambake. It is an all-day activity that yields scrumptious results, but the long process and intricate cooking method creates a reverence for the tradition and its participants.

 

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Dine above Times Square and Stand Up To Cancer!

By Marcus Samuelsson | July 11, 2014

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Join me in the fight against cancer while enjoying a one-of-a-kind dining experience above the crossroads of the world. I’ve prepared a five -course, prix –fixe meal of some of my favorite dishes to be served at a dining table 25 feet above Times Square in New York City through Mastercard’s Priceless Table. Dinners at Priceless Table will be served on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, July 16-August 2, 2014. The cost for the dinner is $100 for two, or $50 per person, which will be donated to Stand Up to Cancer.

I filled the menu with dishes, such as tomato watermelon gazpacho and ramen salmon salad, that have nutritious and timely ingredients. I try to eat healthy as often as possible, and was excited to include the omega-3s and good fats of the salmon and avocado we are serving. I also tried to be conscious of seasonality with fresh tomatoes and watermelon. Our bodies naturally crave things that are in season, so this gazpacho is perfect for healthful summer eating.

I’ve had several people in my life diagnosed with cancer in the last few years, so the Priceless Table for Stand Up To Cancer project really hits home. It’s hard to sit by and watch as your loved one battles, and there’s nothing you can do. Stand Up To Cancer is the best answer to that. Plus, what could be more fun than sitting above Times Square and enjoying a one-of-a-kind meal?

You can purchase tickets here.

ChefNewsThe Roo

HEAF Comes to Red Rooster

By ADMIN | June 26, 2014

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On Monday, June 23rd, a group of 17 students from Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) came to Ginny’s Supper Club to participate in a cooking demo and discussion with Chef Marcus Samuelsson. The students will head off to Stockholm, Sweden this Saturday as a part of HEAF’s Learning for Social Impact (LSI) course.

With the assistance of a few brave students, Marcus demonstrated traditional Swedish foods including Swedish Meatballs and Pytt I Panna, a Swedish hash made with potatoes and minced meat.

Marcus discussed his experiences growing up in Sweden, contemporary Swedish culture, and the ways that sustainability and economic history have shaped Swedish cuisine. The students asked exciting questions, and we can’t wait to hear all about their trip! Trevlig resa!

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Ginny’s Salon: After Midnight

By Marcus Samuelsson | May 12, 2014

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Join me at Ginny’s Supper Club Monday, May 19th for a fabulous evening of food and discussion with Tony nominated Best Director/Choreographer Warren Carlyle, Tony Nominated actress Adriane Lenox, Tony  nominated Costume Director Isabel Toledo, and her husband Artist-in-Residence Ruben Toledo as they sit with me to discuss the inner workings of the production that shares Harlem’s legacy with the world. We will serve a curated four-course meal inspired by the Cotton Club in its heyday.

To learn more about this amazing production read the New York Times Review here

Here is the featured menu for the evening:

Supper De-Luxe

First

Relish Tray

cornbread madeleine, deviled eggs with caviar, pickles

Second

Oysters and Lox

fried oysters, tandoori smoked salmon, yuzu kosho yogurt

Third

duck & waffle

smoked maple gastrique, collards, foie gras ganache

Last

Swedish Cloud

pistachio sponge, rhubarb sorbet, cream cheese foam, lemon-elderberry curd

the rooster goodbye

champagne infused grapes

Community

Sweet Tooth: Luca & Bosco Ice Cream

By Sarah Williams | April 21, 2014

Honey Lavender Ricotta Luca And Bosco Ice Cream (32)

We had the pleasure of tasting Luca & Bosco Ice Cream earlier this month at the Harlem Helps Benefit in Ginny’s Supper Club.  With a unique flavor palate, Harlem- based Luca & Bosco Ice Cream has been captivating New Yorkers since its inception in 2012. We were able to catch up with Ruthie and Catherine, the founders of Luca & Bosco, to learn more about their sweet business.

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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

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