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.
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 🙂
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.
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).
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 🙂 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?
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 is 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.
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!