Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions

July 18, 2013
Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

My sister Sue’s fruit tart, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream. Yum.

Death by Chocolate. Fruit tart. Baked clams. Spicy barbecued shrimp. Chickpea avocado salad.

Oh, gosh, I’m sorry. Am I making you guys hungry again?

This past weekend was the annual Lobster Party with my dad’s side of the family. What’s noteworthy about this event (culinary temptation aside for a moment), is that it’s been going strong since 1969! It started when my dad, the youngest of his family, came home from Vietnam: brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins all gathered in my grandparents’ backyard with summer fare like fresh lobster and corn on the cob.

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

Fresh lobster, all ready to eat (well, for some- I used to eat it, but stick to vegetarianism all year long now)

It’s amazing (and wonderful!) to me that the Lobster Party continues to this day. The location rotates, depending on which relative is available/up for it (it is a pretty big job), and now with social media being so big we can all shout out who’s bringing what dish so there’s enough of everything: appetizers, salads, desserts, and so on.

Much of the family is still based on Long Island, but there are some, like my sister and I, plus my cousins and sister in Florida, who live further away. This is the one time of year that I get to see everybody in one place. I must say, it’s pretty nice πŸ™‚

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

My grandparents with Sue, at the 1978 Lobster Party (before my time!)

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

1983: My Great Aunt Kitty, cousin Jeanne, Uncle Bill, and me as a baby! Looks like I really wanted to dig in to all that food. (thanks to my cousins Carrie & Brian for this shot!)

It seems like the desserts get better every year. My Aunt Ann always brings her famous (and lusted after!) Death By Chocolate, and Sue always wows everyone with her latest baked goods.Β 

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions

Andy’s shot of all the Lobster Party desserts. Sometimes I practice the art of moderation…other years I haven’t been as successful πŸ™‚

There’s a picture of me from the 2009 Lobster Party holding two bowls, each stuffed with different desserts. I was somehow proud of the fact that I was trying everything? Happily, this year I had small slivers of the two tarts, just a bite of Death by Chocolate, and one of my mom’s crumb bars (I’d sampled the chocolate chip cookies the night before).

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

My cousin Susanne made this strawberry tart with lemon curd filling- the sweet and sour combo was great!

I can’t leave out one of the Lobster Party’s great traditions: roasting marshmallows. After the lobster pots are removed from the pit, the coals are at a perfect temperature to sit around and see who can get the gooey-est, golden brown marshmallow. It’s mostly the younger cousins, but those of us in our 20’s and 30’s participate as well πŸ™‚ This year, I decided to make s’mores, just because I hadn’t eaten that oh-so-nostalgic combination of graham cracker, chocolate, and roasted marshmallow in too long. Why not?

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

Nice when Andy acquiesces to my photo requests πŸ™‚

It’s fun when someone gets married and then bam, we have another member of the family who gets to hear how everyone else is related. First cousins once removed and second cousins can get confusing!

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of the Lobster Party isΒ tradition. We’ve missed only one year since 1969, and there’s just something special about that, you know? People coming back together, year after year, preparing special dishes to share, and catching up on each other’s lives. It sounds so simple, but it’s something to look forward to every summer.

Lobster Party: Food and Family Traditions - Sweet and Savoring

This shot was my idea- who doesn’t love stripes? I promise that we all chose our outfits individually!

Does your family have any summer traditions? What makes you happy about the summer? Please share below and feel free to join the Be Happy Blog-Hop, hosted by Erin of Artsocial!

Be Happy - Sweet and Savoring

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  • Sue July 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

    What makes me happy about the summer is the less-rigid schedule (as opposed to the school year), the longer days and spending more time with friends and family. Great post and thanks for the shout-out, sis! xo

    • Christy July 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

      No prob, sis! Longer days of summer = <3 <3 <3

  • Kristen July 18, 2013 at 11:09 am

    You had me at Death by Chocolate. Yes, please. If my husband would have seen the picture of the lobster, he would have been on the next flight up. He loooves lobster.
    Kristen recently posted…Living with the bloodsuckersMy Profile

    • Christy July 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Haha, the DBC is the dessert all the kids crowd around the table for, unable to contain themselves πŸ™‚ Most of my family loves lobster, too!

  • Christie Jones July 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Since I grew up on Long Island, and my dad was a clammer – yes that’s how he made the $$$ back in the day! – I am super jelly of this!

    • Christy July 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Yay for a fellow (former) Long Islander! Your dad must have worked super hard!

  • alyssa July 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    All that food looks amazing! and I love that picture with all of you in stripes!

    • Christy July 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      It was kind of amazing, Alyssa. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Bebe Pies July 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    That party looks like it was delicious! Love how you included photos from the lobster party throughout the years.

    • Christy July 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Delicious is one of the first words that come to my mind πŸ™‚ And old photos like these are just priceless, aren’t they?

  • Kristina @ DailyAmpersand July 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    What a beautiful tradition and how fun! Your family certainly knows how to cook! lovelovelove

    • Christy July 19, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Thanks Kristina! Lately, I’ve been pondering what kind of new traditions Andy and I can make for ourselves πŸ™‚

  • Tamara July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Pretty awesome! I love traditions. My baby has a wonderful lobster onesie that would be perfect at your party. We do have one summer tradition that originated from my husband’s family. They’ve had a beach house in Cape Cod since the 1970’s. Usually in mid-July but occasionally as everyone has grown it’s at other times, they have a big party in which bluefish is cooked. It’s actually not my thing – too oily for my taste – but I have a feeling I won’t get out of eating it for much longer.

    • Christy July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Haha, I know what you mean by getting out of eating it- for the longest time, I felt like I wasn’t a proper member of the family if I didn’t eat lobster/clams/shrimp! But I’ve learned that it’s totally okay and everyone has their preferences πŸ™‚
      That Cape Cod tradition sounds fantastic, too!

  • Deb July 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

    This post makes me happy!! We are so blessed to be part of our family, honoring traditions, and always hoping that those who could not attend the lobster party this year will return for next year’s celebration! Your pics are awesome, I’ll have to look for more oldies to share! my alias is “Mom!”

    • Christy July 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Yeah, more old pics would be fun!

  • Mrs. ShuGar July 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I die for lobster. It’s so expensive in LA, but when we used to go down south, we could enjoy it. I am salivating just thinking about your party! I love families that have traditions like these. It’s a way to stay connected & grow together. Our traditions are probably around major holidays, like having tamales for Christmas. Other than that, my hubs and I are trying to go to the Hollywood Bowl every year to celebrate live music.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Christy July 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Haha, my friends are also jealous of the party and keep asking for an invitation πŸ™‚ Sounds like you a good thing you and your husband have started- I’m trying to think of traditions we can start with Andy, as well.
      Thank you for stopping by, Carmen!

  • Stevie July 22, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Wow, what a fun and delicious family tradition. Is everyone in your family a gourmet cook? Those desserts look out of this world.

    • Christy July 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

      It was delicious! Not everyone is a cook, but there are a few who regularly dazzle the rest of us with their culinary creations!

  • Kate July 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve had plenty of lobster rolls the last couple of months, but I won’t consider summer truly a success until I have a lobster bake like this! Definitely a must do!

    • Christy July 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      I hope you get to cross it off your list, Kate πŸ™‚

  • Rachel July 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    What an awesome tradition! I love that! We usually try to see both sides of my family once a summer but its gotten harder recently with a lot of us kids going off to college. A tradition we haven’t lost has been going camping with some family friends every summer. All of us kids were in a playgroup together when we were babies and although we’ve moved away since then we always manage to find a weekend to camp. As a matter of fact I’m in the car on the way home from our trip this year! Thanks for reminding me how special those traditions are πŸ™‚

    • Christy July 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      That’s super awesome that your group of friends has managed to continue the camping tradition. Thanks for your comment, Rachel- I hope you all had a great time on this year’s trip!

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