Though some may lament Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, it happens to be one of my favorite times of year – a lovely three-day respite and a gateway to fall.
If you ask me, we are officially entering the most exquisite 8 weeks of the year on the coast of Maine. For most families, school is back in session or about to begin. Summer’s loosey goosey, free form agenda for the past few months, gets corralled as order is restored to even the most chaotic schedules. Parking in downtown Portland is easier, reservations to our favorite restaurants are more readily available. The natives are breathing just a little easier.
And the weather. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Maine when the days are warm, breezy and dry and the nights are cool and clear? Autumn is just beginning to whisper its secrets in your ear as you sleep. Perfect sleeping weather; the phrase was invented for this time of year.
The garden seems to be working overtime for us to get our money’s worth with tomatoes, squashes, tomatillos, peppers, and all kinds of gorgeous flowers. And the bees are working as hard as their wingless gardening counterparts.
At my house, Labor Day calls for a lobster bake, you know all the traditional fixings – steamed lobster and steamers with drawn butter, fresh corn and tomatoes, potatoes. What could be better?
We always cook extra lobsters so there is enough meat for lobster rolls the next day. Nothing could be simpler than a genuine Maine lobster roll. Only two ingredients are absolutely necessary – lobster and a roll.
For authenticity, the lobster must be fresh and the roll must be New England style, the kind that has no crust on the bottom and the top. The best rolls are smeared with butter on the outside, toasted golden brown and delivered to the table still warm.
Some people like their lobster mixed with melted butter, some with a dollop of mayonnaise, some say naked lobster meat is best. Served with potato chips and a cold beer and you are in heaven – Maine style.
For dessert, there’s only one way to go and that’s with an authentic, homemade Whoopie Pie (see below for recipe!). These chocolatey, marshmallowy confections are a Maine tradition and the recipe that follows has been passed down for five generations of Mainahs.
You can thank me after you’ve recovered from your Made-in-Maine food coma!