The Living Section

A Clambake Can Be as Good
on a City Terrace as at the Beach

By Florence Fabricant

The urban clambake is an increasingly popular way to entertain at home. Jim Sanford has specialized in city clambakes for years. The traditional beach clambake involves steaming clams, lobsters, chicken, potatoes, onions, corn and sausage over seaweed in pits dug in the sand and lined with rocks that have heated in driftwood fires. Tarpaulins cover the bake to keep the heat from escaping. While some still do their clambakes the old fashioned way, shortcuts
that eliminate the need for a crew of volunteers to gather driftwood and seaweed and dig pits on the beach at dawn have been gaining favor. As long as the food is steamed together in genuine rockweed, the authentic flavor is preserved. Jim Sanford's buffet-style clambake starts with clams steamed in rockweed. Mr. Sanford uses only steamers from Maine, serving them with clam broth and butter. Next come lobsters, onions, potatoes, chicken, fresh corn on the cob (picked that morning at a nearby farm whenever possible) and a moderately spicy Portuguese sausage called linguica that adds flavor to the chicken. Mr. Sanford also provides paperware for serving, as well as wooden mushroom baskets for shells, lobster bibs and metal nutcrackers. For his catered clambakes, a minimum of 40 people is required. He will go anywhere in the New York area, but must be able to do the cooking outdoors: while he can arrange a clambake on a week's notice, summer weekends are usually booked further ahead than that. He can be reached at 914-420-7467.

Let's have a real nice clambake

By Suzanne Hamlin

“Clambakes in the City?" Jim Sanford has believed all along. The New England clambake is a seaside spectacle that he is introducing to New York. “It's an idea that's older than New England," he said, "but to my knowledge, this is the first time anyone has brought it into the city." “I first started doing clambakes on Martha's Vineyard," he said. "I've always been in the food business (as a saucier at The Four Seasons, and as a cook at Copenhagen, La Caravelle and The Plaza), so it was easy for me to organize a kitchen outside. “I've been doing them there for ten years now," he grinned, “so I guess I'm ready for New York." Doing a clambake Sanford style means the party giver supplies the space. Jim Sanford supplies the rest. He comes with the “bake”-the steamer trays and 20 gallon clam steamer-the edibles and all the cooking and serving ingredients down to the lobster bibs, heavy-duty paper plates, and rockweed. At the end of the clambake, a kind of mellow satiety settled in on the crowd. According to Jim, this was a normal reaction. "As long as you've got a good group of people, the clambake takes off on it's own. Jim Sanford can be contacted by phone at 914-420-7467. He can be hired for backyards, terraces, patios, rooftops, clubs, parks or, of course, the beach. The per person cost, based on a minimum of 40 people includes soft-shelled clams, clam broth, a 1 1/4 lb. Lobster, corn on the cob, onions, potatoes, chicken and barbeque sauce, linguica, pots of melted butter, watermelon and coffee. The price also includes the buffet serving tables, all plates, utensils, and napkins.

Reprint from the Westchester Gannette Newspapers