The season of hosting is ending as Labor Day approaches. We as a community and as individuals have been busy hosting guests who are looking for a getaway and a good time. I like to think we do a pretty good job all around.

This summer especially.

The surprise of the summer was the 75th Maine Lobster Festival. Gone for two back-to-back summers and facing some stiff headwinds, organizers and volunteers, pulled off an amazing festival. The decision to wave admission brought locals to the grounds who had not been in years (myself included).

The parade was especially nice to have return. My 2-1 / 2-year-old grandson saw his first festival parade and got a high five from a pirate. More than 22,000 lbs. of lobsters were served in roasting weather. (That number would be considered a good number in any year by the way.)

Easton Pedatella and a friendly pirate, 2022 Maine Lobster Festival parade. photo by Iwona Pedatella

The Maine Lobster Festival has always been a big event here on our little deadend road, Admontem Avenue. For years Russel Fish would host his Shriner friends in his front dooryard for a lobster feed right after the parade (they all marched or drove go carts).

Meanwhile across the street at our place, Joanne would host a succession of theme parties for the children and adults in our family. Among the themes: Pirates, Police, Firemen, Dinosaurs and Super Heroes. I was The Flash, if you were wondering.

MY TURN TO COOK

Friday night of the festival, I cook dinner for guests at our house.

My plan: Keep things simple and have plenty.

If my meal had a name it would be “Waves of Seafood” because I serve three or four courses. This makes it easier to manage.

Before I begin, I move everyone out of our tiny 1890s kitchen to the porch and make sure everyone has a drink.

Then I serve my first course: shrimp sautéed in butter with a squirt of lemon. I serve this to the porch dwellers and make sure their glasses are still full.

My second course I learned from Bruce Gamage one year in the eating tent at the festival. I brown green peppers, onions and garlic in butter in a skillet. I put an inch of water and a splash of whatever wine we have in a kettle.

When the kettle is steaming I add mussels and the cooked veggies. When the mussels are open, they are done. (I will pull one out and let a worthy judge taste them to be sure.) I serve the mussels and make sure the drinks are topped off.

The main course: Lobsters and rib eye steak. I buy my lobsters from a dealer who buys from up and down the coast and floats his catch in Rockland Harbor. I look for lobsters with long antennae, telling me they have not been held long and were likely crawling within the last couple of days.

I cook the lobsters first (I steam them in an inch of water) and let the steaks catch up. If the lobsters get done first, they stay hot in the pot and in their shells. That way I can serve the steaks and lobster at the same time.

I dump the lobsters into the slate sink, where I crack and pick them. I serve the picked lobsters in small bowls and have bowls with melted butter and a squirt of lemon for dipping. Dinner is served in the dining room on a rustic barnwood table. Joanne makes a salad with cut up apples in it and corn on the cob.

Those who can still move are served vanilla ice cream with fresh Maine blueberries.

The next morning the leftover lobster meat goes into lobster omelets for breakfast.

Lobster omelet. Photo by Glenn Billington

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

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