July Vacation Fun Facts

Dear Epicurean Club Members,


Take time on this special day to understand what independence means to you... We are fortunate to be born in America, which is famous for its rich culture and traditions... May our country always flourish and celebrate many more years of independence. ...

Happy 4th of July!




A Brief History of Lobster (As Food)

Lobster may be one of the most decadent foods of our modern era, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, back in colonial times, lobsters were considered “poor man’s food” and fed to slaves and prisoners!

Let’s consider a few fascinating facts about our (tasty) friend, the lobster:

  • When the first Europeans arrived in America, they found piles of lobsters on the beaches–sometimes up to two feet high!

  • Native Americans (and early settlers) used lobsters to bait their fishing hooks and used lobster shells as fertilizer

  • Servants in colonial Massachusetts got so tired of lobster they started including stipulations in their contract not to eat it more than twice a week

So when did everything change?

In 1876, the first lobster pound was founded in Vinalhaven, Maine. By the turn of the century, discriminating diners in New York City and Boston began to get a taste for the humble lobster.


By the start of World War II, lobster was elevated from a poor man’s food to a gourmet delicacy. Interestingly, it was among the few foods that weren’t rationed during the war years. The result? America ate lobster to its hearts’ content–and has been in love with it ever since.



What’s So Special About Lobster Anyway?

Here’s a little-known fact: Lobsters have some of the strangest anatomy in the animal kingdom.

How’s this for unique?

  • A lobster’s brain is in its throat.

  • Its teeth are in its stomach.

  • Its nervous system is inside its abdomen.

  • Its kidneys are in its head.

  • A lobster hears with its legs and tastes with its feet.

Confused? So are we. But regardless of its bizarre anatomy, one thing we can all agree on is its wonderful flavor.

Though viewed as a rich and decadent food source, lobster meat is actually very good for you. In fact, four ounces of lobster meat contains fewer calories than four ounces of chicken breast.

Not only is lobster tasty, but it’s packed full of vital nutrients. A helping of lobster boasts heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and potassium. It’s also rich in vitamins E, B6, and B12.



What’s a Lobster Roll?

Now that you know more about this delicious crustacean, it’s time to discuss the topic at hand. The first known lobster roll was served in 1929 in Milford, Connecticut at a restaurant called Perry’s. It gained popularity in the 1960s at a Long Island seafood restaurant appropriately named The Lobster Roll. Then, in 1970s Maine, summertime roadside stands began serving up chilled lobster meat in toasted hot dog buns.


Who can lay claim to this sandwich? Everyone, it seems, because the lobster roll is now a staple of nearly every seafood restaurant in New England. But here comes the tricky part. What’s the best style of lobster roll?


There are two main variations of lobster rolls:

  • Traditional: Warm chunks of lobster meat soaked in butter, served on a steamed hot dog bun

  • Maine-style: Cold chunks of lobster on a toasted bun, with or without a spread of mayonnaise

Everyone has their personal favorite, of course, but both styles are equally delicious. Nowadays, chefs are also putting their own unique twist on the traditional or Maine-style lobster rolls.


Some restaurants feature a “lobster salad” type roll where the meat is mixed with lemon, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, or paprika. Some versions feature celery or lettuce, while others include only meat and bread. Some menus feature both a hot and a cold lobster roll for those who want to please everyone.




What Makes a Lobster Roll “Authentic?”

As you can see, there’s more to the lobster roll than first meets the eye. Styles, tastes, and opinions abound, but there are definite standards for an “authentic” lobster roll. The first focuses on simplicity. Because lobster has such a sweet, delicate flavor, strong seasoning or sauces easily overpower it.


Discerning chefs know that only a little flavor enhancement–a dash of lemon or a touch of mayonnaise–is all that’s needed for a delicious lobster roll. There’s no need for fancy sauces or a blend of spices because these would only detract from the star of the show–the lobster itself.


Another deciding factor in its authenticity? Location. If you want to experience a true and honest New England lobster roll, well…you need to go to New England to get it. A final factor to a great lobster roll is fresh lobster. Frozen, pre-packaged lobster meat can’t compete with the off-the-boat version. We applaud McDonald’s for giving it a try–but lobster rolls are best left to the seafood experts.



History of Fried Clam Day:

The creator of National fried clam day is Lawrence Henry Woodman in the year 1916. He had ran a moderate type of restaurant when he kept the field clams in menu. Due to its flavor, it has garnered a country-wide attention. The first popular fried clams were made on July 3,1916. in Essex, Massachusetts.


After that, Thomas Sofforon who owned a company, Sofforon Brothers clam and co, created a new recipe with clam strips and sold it to one of the famous American chain hotel, Howard Johnson’s after a deal. Howard Johnson’s restaurant further expanded and listed the dish in all its branches making it further popular

It happened on a hot, steamy day in Essex, Mass. Chubby Woodman and his wife Bessie had opened a small concession stand on Main Street two years earlier. On weekends they sold small grocery items, homemade potato chips and clams that Chubby dug from the tidal flats of the Essex River.


That summer day a fisherman named Tarr came by for Chubby’s potato chips. Chubby complained business was slow. Tarr pointed to a bucket of clams and joked that Chubby should try to fry up some clams. That was Chubby’s eureka moment.

THE FRIED CLAM

He and Bessie shucked the clams, threw lard in the pot and experimented with different batters. When they came up with a version they liked, they asked some locals to taste them.

The Woodman's preferred method was to dip the clams in milk and then in a mixture of finely ground cornmeal and flour before deep frying. The clams were a hit. Woodman’s sold out of fried clams on July 4 and has been selling them ever since. Woodman’s of Essex, Mass.


In 1983, a New York Times reporter described Woodman’s as “a rambling barn of a place with wooden picnic tables, no waiters, lots of flies, and all the sophisticated ambiance of a Kiwanis Club cookout in Jersey City.” Chubby and Bessie wrote important family dates on the back of their wedding certificate. Those dates included their two oldest sons’ birthdays and this: “We fried the first fried clam—in the town of Essex, July 3, 1916.”


Soft-shelled Ipswich clams dug out of muddy flats became the sine qua non of fried clams. Purveyors of the battered bivalve sprang up along the Mollusk Trail –- Route 133 from Rowley through Ipswich to Essex. Hordes come for fried clams In Essex at Woodman’s, run by descendants of Chubby Woodman, J. T. Farnham’s and Essex Seafood, and in Ipswich, the Clam Box.


The Clam Box

What makes the Ipswich clam so special? Cambridge chef Jasper White told the New York Times the soft-shell clams taste richer. Sadly, Ipswich clams aren’t as plentiful as they used to be, thanks in part to development, pollution and the invasive green crab, which has an appetite for clams as voracious as a summer tourist.


STRIPS OR BELLIES?

Howard Johnson’s in Kennebunk, Maine.

Clam shacks spread throughout New England. Not all used Ipswich clams. Cape Codders, for example, use hard shell clams that come from the sandy ocean floor (sometimes causing a grit issue).

Howard Johnson’s brought the fried clam to the masses beyond New England with clam strips, an innovation from another Ipswich clam entrepreneur.

Thomas Soffron, a Greek immigrant and partner in the Soffron Brothers Clam Co., was said to be a picky eater who didn’t like clam bellies. He used only the foot of hard-shell clams, which he marketed as Tender-sweet Fried Clams. Soffron entered into an exclusive deal to provide clam strips for Howard Johnson’s while the restaurant empire was expanding. The Soffron brothers business grew to seven processing plants from Nova Scotia to Maryland to meet Howard Johnson’s demand.

Little Neck, Ipswich, around 1920

The ascent of the clam strip created an ongoing controversy in New England: Bellies or strips? Clam-belly advocates call the strips ‘fried rubber bands’ or ‘nothing but a bar snack.’ Strip advocates call the bellies ‘disgusting.’

Here’s another controversy: Did Chubby Woodman really invent the fried clam? They were listed on an 1865 menu from the Parker House hotel restaurant in Boston.

Presumably, clams then just weren’t the same as the modern fried clam– which, after all, is to New England as barbecue is to the South.

This story about the fried clam was updated in 2021.

Steamed clams is a seafood dish consisting of clams cooked by steaming.

In the United States, steamed clams are usually made with small soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) called steamers, and sometimes with other shellfish[1] harvested and served along the East Coast and in New England.[2]

Hard shell clams, sometimes known as quahogs, can also be steamed. They are categorized by size— the smaller ones are called littlenecks, medium-sized ones topnecks, the larger ones cherrystones, and the largest are simply called quahogs.[3][4][5]

The clams used for steaming are usually cooked live. If in a hard shell, the clam should be closed when purchased and should open after being cooked.[6] Soft shell clams are open slightly (agape) while alive.[7] Larger chowder clams are not typically used for steaming.

I hope everyone enjoyed these fun facts. You will continue to see more Culinary Fun Facts throughout the summer months.


Please take time to enjoy your families and friends. We work hard all year long so it's time we spend some home time with our families.


Be safe this weekend. I look forward to seeing everyone soon.


Best,

John R DiSessa CEC.AAC



INGREDIENTS

Tropical

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely diced mango

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper

Asian-Style

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated fresh ginger

  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

Classic

  • Raspberry Vinegar

  • Shallot, finely chopped

Italian-Style

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • A dash of olive oil

  • A pinch of pepper

My favorite

  • Lime juice

  • Tabasco sauce, red or green

_________________________________


Chef Earle Test Certification Corner, July1,2022

Certification Matters

What’s unique about the ACF Certification Program?

The ACF certification program is the most comprehensive certification program for culinarians offering 16 certification levels. Culinarians achieve certification based on education, experience, and successful completion of written and practical exams. The certification programs is guided by the ACF Certification Commission. Learn more about the Certification Commission.



Differentiate Yourself! Get Certified in 2022

employers and the public. With thousands of chefs competing in the job market, it is essential to prove your culinary competency.

Benefits of ACF Certification:

  • Enhances reputation by proving the chef has the knowledge and skills required for a position;

  • Shows that the chef embraces continuing education as a life-long goal for continual improvement and mastery of the culinary arts;

  • Instills self-confidence when the chef achieves the goal of earning a reputable, challenging and quality-driven credential;

  • Communicates that the chef upholds the Culinarian’s Code of Ethics, including conducting oneself with honesty, integrity and fairness in providing professional service;

  • Proves that the chef can collaborate with others to cultivate new and innovative culinary techniques and skills.

Online Learning Center

Need to take a certification refresher course? Want to try a Written Practice Exam? Need to take the ACF Anti-Harassment Training Class? Maybe you are looking for some CEHs or want to learn a new topic like Beekeeping or watch a session from a past ACF conference? You can do all of that – and more – via the ACF Online Learning Center. Many of the classes are FREE and all are online. Check out all the amazing options available at https://tinyurl.com/52sxkdkd

Differentiate Yourself! Get Certified in 2022

ACF Certification adds value to the chefs, employers and the public. With thousands of chefs competing in the job market, it is essential to prove your culinary competency.

Benefits of ACF Certification:

  • Enhances reputation by proving the chef has the knowledge and skills required for a position;

  • Shows that the chef embraces continuing education as a life-long goal for continual improvement and mastery of the culinary arts;

  • Instills self-confidence when the chef achieves the goal of earning a reputable, challenging and quality-driven credential;

  • Communicates that the chef upholds the Culinarian’s Code of Ethics, including conducting oneself with honesty, integrity and fairness in providing professional service;

  • Proves that the chef can collaborate with others to cultivate new and innovative culinary techniques and skills.

One-Price to Get Certified

The ACF also announced that initial certifications will have a one-price model to include: initial and final application fees, written exam fees and practical exam administration fees (It does NOT include the practical exam local host fees). Fees for students at ACFEF-accredited and ACFEF-apprenticeship programs will remain the same.

· $250 for members

· $490 for nonmembers

Recertify for Free with your ACF Membership

Renewal certification fees will be included in your ACF membership fees, giving significant value to your ACF membership! You will still need to maintain your continuing education hours, however, you will not have to pay a renewal fee. For this benefit to apply, membership must be maintained without any lapse for five years!

If you have any questions regarding the certification process please contact Certification Chair, Earle Test, CEC, CCE, CCA at emtest@verizon.net

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