Q:

What are some tips for hosting a clambake?

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Quick Answer

Some tips for hosting a New England clambake include sending invitations encouraging people to bring a covered dish and serving traditional sides such as corn and potatoes in addition to clams, lobster and smoked sausage. Offer refreshing drinks such as iced tea, lemonade and beer. Customary tableware includes bibs, shell crackers and picks, and shell buckets.

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Full Answer

A traditional New England clambake is similar to a block party where a number of families pitch in to buy seafood and then invite neighbors to bring covered dishes and desserts such as apple pie and peach cobbler. Hosts should send out or post invitations well in advance so that they know how many lobsters, bushels of clams and pounds of sausage to buy. As RSVPs come in, hosts can fill in the menu when guests ask what to bring.

If you’re boiling the seafood, use large pots and braziers fired with propane. If you’re cooking in a sand pit, line the pit with large rocks and coals. Stoke the fire with hardwood until the coals burn down. Add the seafood, sausage corn and potatoes, and then cover the pit with wet burlap or canvas for about 45 minutes or until the clams open and the potatoes are soft.

To set tables for guests, cover picnic tables with red-and-white cloths, and set out plates, dinnerware, crackers and picks, shell buckets, and bibs. You also need large platters for the food and a large supply of napkins or paper towels and wet naps.

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