WHAT WE COOKED AND ATE IN MAINE

APOLOGIES FOR MY LONG ABSENCE, BUT WE WERE IN MAINE, WHERE WE HAVE BEEN GOING EVERY SUMMER FOR 35 YEARS STAYING WITH LYNN’S FRIEND LIZ WHOM SHE FIRST BEFRIENDED IN JUNIOR HIGH.  THE RANGELY LAKES WESTERN MAINE, NOT FAR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE BUT A TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOUR DRIVE FROM PORTLAND IN THE TINY TOWN OF OQUOSSIC.  THE HOUSE — ORIGINALLY A FISHING AND HUNTING CAMP — SITS RIGHT ON THE LAKE MOOSELOOKMEGUNTIC, WHERE ALL YOU CAN SEE FROM LIZ’S DECK IS ONE HOUSE ON THE FAR SHORE.  EVERY SUMMER, AFTER THE DRIVE FROM PORTLAND, I WALK OUT ONTO LIZ’S DECK AND THE FIRST THING I HEAR IS..SILENCE.  JUST THE OCCASIONAL ULULATING LOONS OR A PASSING FLIGHT OF CANADA GEESE.  THERE ARE BALD EAGLES, OTTERS, PLENTY OF DEER, AND, IF YOU’RE LUCKY, MOOSE.

UNLIKE L.A., THE WEATHER HERE CHANGES DAILY, SOMETIMES HOURLY.  THUNDERSTORMS SWEEP ACROSS THE LAKE, YIELDING TO BRILLIANT SUNSHINE AND THE GIFT OF A RAINBOW.  IT CAN CLIMB INTO THE NINETIES IN JULY.  BY SEPTEMBER WE’RE PILING BLANKETS ON OUR BED.

WHEN WE WERE A COUPLE OF DECADES YOUNGER WE DID A LOT OF HIKING, SAILING, AND CANOEING.  WE STILL WALK THE ROAD WHICH IS A MILE AND A QUARTER FROM THE ROUTE 16, BUT OUR PRINCIPAL ACTIVITIES REVOLVE AROUND FOOD;  MORE GATHERING THAN HUNTING, PREPARING IT, CONSUMING IT, CRITIQUING IT, AND DEBATING WHAT TO EAT NEXT

MUSSELS
SWORDFISH SICILIANA

.

THOSE OPTIONS HAVE MULTIPLIED TENFOLD IN 35 YEARS.  THE BIG DIFFERENCE IS THE PROLIFERATION AND AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCE FROM THE LOCAL FARMS.  EVEN THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER IN OQUOSSIC NOW STOCKS ITS SHELVES WITH LETTUCES, POTATOES, TOMATOES, ONIONS, SQUASH, CUCUMBERS, EVEN CHANTERELLES GROWN OR FOUND WITHIN FEW-MILE RADIUS.

BLUEBERRY HILL
GRASSHOPPER HILL

JOSH PARKS THE HIGH-TIDE, LOW-TIDE FISH TRUCK IN RANGELY TWICE A WEEK WHERE EVERYONE LINES UP FOR ATLANTIC  COD, HALIBUT, FLOUNDER, MONKFISH, SCALLOPS, STEAMERS, MUSSELS, AND, YES, LOBSTERS.

WE’RE NOT THE ONLY GUESTS.  BUT I AM THE PRINCIPAL CHEF, MAKING MOST OF THE MEALS WITH ABLE SOUS-CHEF LIZ AND DESSERT CHEF LYNN.

I NEVER DO DISHES.

BANANA CREAM TART
CHEF JOHN AND MADAM

LIZ HAS WONDERFUL EAST-COAST SUMMER FRIENDS, WHO OWN HOUSES IN THE AREA.  THEY’RE A SMART, CULTURED, POLITICALLY-ENGAGED BUNCH, WHO’VE BECOME OUR FRIENDS, TOO.

HIRAM         JANE                                              GUIDO             LIZ           SUSAN

OVER THE YEARS WE’VE GONE AT DIFFERENT TIMES THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER.  WE’VE HAD HOT JULYS, RAINY AUGUSTS AND SEPTEMBERS WHERE WE LIGHT A FIRE IN THE LIVING ROOM.  LYNN AND LIZ DO JIGSAW PUZZLES.  I READ.  WE WATCH TELEVISION THE NIGHTS WE’RE NOT ENTERTAINING OR BEING ENTERTAINED.  WE TAKE OCCASIONAL TRIPS TO PORTLAND, VISIT THE MINERAL MUSEUM IN BETHEL, A NEARBY BUFFALO FARM, THE WILHEM REICH MUSEUM IN OQUOSSIC.  WE TRY NEW RECIPES — BIALYS!  ALTHOUGH I’M HAPPY TO COME HOME, I’M NEVER HAPPY TO LEAVE.  THERE SIMPLY IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE “THE LEDGES”.

Share
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.