The pit has been dug on the cobble beach and lined with stones. There was a charcoal layer about 9 inches below the surface: evidence of clambakes past, possibly the one in 1993 from my cousin Jay's wedding, judging from where I chose to dig. I found a blackened rock in my hole that shattered when tossed onto the jetty, proof of its prior distemper in flame.
The bucket of quahogs is an archival image - hard-shelled clams I baked and stuffed in June - but we will add some more to the feast on Sunday. Anything larger than a chicken lobster goes for $11.99 a pound and I'll be getting five of them on Sunday as well as sweet corn and 10 pounds of steamers to go with the new potatoes, hot dogs and linguica I plan to pile on the bake. The old waxed tarp from Namibia will do nicely for a cover to trap the steam. Drawn butter, watermelon, slaw made from our own red cabbage, and black caps picked on site will round out what should prove a magnificent feast for two of my oldest and dearest friends this weekend. I might even bake a cherry pie.
If it rains, we'll break out the washboiler and do it all on the stove. Any day at the beach beats one at the office.
It's great to be down at the shore and smart to start things off in midweek rather than crawling through Friday traffic. There's an osprey crying on the wind above the buff - the "buzzard" for which the bay is named - and I made myself a pot of chipoltle chili succotash with stewing beef that is just on the sweet side of painful. Not everything eaten down here is South Shore cuisine. Emily and Elias have gotten used to their Dad cooking weird stuff on vacation and are fine with it so long as there is plenty of pasta, peanut butter and whatever else they are eating these days on hand for them.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."