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Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie    by Rebecca Charles & Deborah DiClementi order for
Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie
by Rebecca Charles
Order:  USA  Can
Regan, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A history of the Kennebunks and environs ties in closely with the history of author Rebecca Charles' family and why she started her restaurant, Pearl Oyster Bar, in New York City. Anyone who has spent time in the Kennebunks will thrill to the nostalgia of Charles' tales of summers spent there with her family. From the lure of the sea and its bounty, the wonderful camaraderie of the hotel where vacations were spent each summer, the food prepared from the freshest of ingredients, and families and friends reunited at the resort to share a mystical vacation, Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie is a book to treasure. Wonderful, old family photos relate to the text, bringing alive the people described in it.

A short essay on chowders precedes recipes for Clam Chowder and Scallop Chowder with Pernot and Thyme. Recipes for favorite family cocktails also include hors d'oeuvres to accompany the drinks. The Combination Seafood Cocktail seems like the ultimate to me. Tips on shucking the seafood are handy to have. A chapter on Roasting Vegetables suggests roasting Brussel Sprouts. Doesn't seem worth it to me - but, heck, it might improve the sprout considerably, enough to make it more than just edible. Next, we come to Slaws with a wonderful array of vegetables to use. Corn Pudding gets my vote. Potato Pancakes evoked memories of my childhood. Mother's were really very good, but this dish sounds even better.

All you ever wanted to know about scallops comes next along with some nice recipes for Pan Seared Scallops, Scalloped Scallops and Taylor Bay Scallops in the Shell with Leeks and Butter Sauce. Tips on buying and cooking fish are invaluable. A recipe for Pearl's Shortbread - a delicacy for which Charles' grandmother was famous - is yours for the price of the book and a bargain at any price. As a bonus, try Wild Maine Blueberry Crumble Pie and Blueberry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Custard Sauce. Be still my heart. Rebecca Charles has amalgamated many recipes for Hot Fudge Sauce as close to the famous Schraft's as she can get it. Her Maine Blueberry Sauce would be my choice. I especially like the recipe given to Charles' mother by Carl Reiner's wife for Cheesies to use as an accompaniment to drinks.

The complete skinny is divulged for digging clams and how to cook them along with the proper way to eat them - yes, there is a proper way. Recipes for a Traditional Clambake had me tying a napkin around my neck, an anticipatory look on my face. The Urban Clambake brought the same response. A myriad of lobster recipes sound good enough to eat. I found a lesson on grilling fish, along with several recipes, invaluable. I would love to go to New York City and experience Pearl Oyster Bar Lobster Roll. Sounds like perfection. Ditto for the Bouillabaisse.

Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie is mainly a look at an interesting family's history, with recipes as an adjunct to it, albeit an important one.

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