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Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine Hardcover – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060515821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060515829
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Half seafood cookbook and half family history, this volume's greatest strength is in the recipes for over 70 dishes that define New England summers-corn on the cob, salt-crusted shrimp, and lots of lobster-reproduced here in honor of Charles's family's summertime trips to Maine. Charles, owner and head chef of the widely hailed Pearl Oyster Bar in Manhattan, offers her hard-drinking, quick-learning adventures in the restaurant business in the memoir portion of the book, and though they will be nothing new to Kitchen Confidential fans, they make for a piquant prelude to her recipes. The book gets a little bogged down, however, in the chapters that detail early family trips to Maine. Although Charles's desire to tell her family's story is heartfelt, she often leaves out important details, such as dates and introductions to the characters, that would make the narrative easier to follow. The story alternates from intriguing family explorations (how did the author's family locate the one hotel in the Kennebunk region of Maine that accepted Jews in the 1920's?) to textbook historical notes that don't quite mesh with the personal tone. Readers will wonder, too, about such asides as when she mentions her one-time estrangement from both parents ("I discovered my father's death in the late 1980s quite by accident"). Still, when the focus is on the food that Charles loves, the book is an accessible and authoritative guide to seafood preparation, as Charles offers not only divine recipes, from Pearl Oyster Bar Cocktail Sauce to Blueberry Crumble Pie, but tips on selecting (never buy wet scallops), cleaning (leverage is the key to shucking oysters) and preparing (don't marinate fish much more than 30 minutes) all types of seafood. B&w and color photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Deliciously entertaining. A novel with recipes.” (USA Weekend)

“Will remind you of the best summers you ever had.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)

“I remember Rebecca’s grandmother Pearle...made the best shortbread cookies, and Rebecca’s book is just as delicious as those cookies!” (Beverly Sills)

“A charming memoir of summers spent on the coast of Maine.” (Daily News)

“Personal and evocative.” (San Francisco Examiner)

“A satisfying mix of memoir and cookbook.” (Boston Globe)

“A charming, well written account of three generations of women and their summer adventures in Kennebunkport.” (Portland Phoenix)

“A book bound to leave readers feeling that summer just can’t come soon enough.” (Los Angeles Times)

“A homespun travelogue that’s breezy, practical and likely to charm even armchair gourmands not partial to the beach.” (Baltimore Sun)

“A pleasure to read. . . . You’ll have this book plastered open on your kitchen counter all summer.” (New York Times)

“An interesting, mouth-watering read.” (Bangor Daily News)

More About the Author

When Rebecca Charles opened Pearl Oyster Bar New England was known for boiled lobsters and fried Ipswich clams. But when Rebecca, the "Lobster Whisperer," reinvented the lobster roll, using a trained chef's techniques and the freshest ingredients she turned a New England staple into an iconic New York sandwich. From pan roasts and chowders to fried oysters, savory lobster pot pie and stew to blueberry crumble pies, she performed the same magic with other seaside standards.

Those recipes were gathered in, "Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie: Stories and Recipes from Summers on the Coast of Maine," published by Harper Collins. A regional bestseller, it was released in paperback in 2006 and remains in print.

"Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie" tells the story of Rebecca's family who began summering in Kennebunkport, Maine in the summer of 1917 as well as chronicles Chef Charles' success opening a restaurant based on that history.

Pearl Oyster Bar was inspired by a 1995 visit to San Francisco, during which Rebecca had the pleasure of a lunch at Swan Oyster Depot. She decided then to focus her soon-to-be-opened restaurant on seafood. Instead of Swan's Barbary Coast seafood, Rebecca wanted to craft a menu based on the food of coastal Maine that she had been eating since she was a child. And, as a chef with 25 years' cooking experience at the time, she also wanted a full service restaurant, not just a lunch counter.

With a menu designed to include simple regional favorites as well as the more complex dishes that Rebecca had an appreciation for, Pearl opened to instantaneous acclaim in July of 1997. Pearl's open kitchen, one of the first in New York, was meant to encourage interaction between cook and patron.

Pearl is not strictly an upscale lobster shack. It draws on a variety of influences that has resulted in a menu where boiled lobster, steamers and fried oysters co-exist with Bouillabaisse, Scallops with Parsnips, Brussel Sprouts and Bacon and Callebaut Chocolate Mousse. Thus, it is Rebecca's version of the upscale clam shack and not just the lobster roll that started a trend that stretched across the country.

For Chef Charles, whose family has been summering on Gooch's Beach in Kennebunkport since 1917, New England seafood is not a "trend," it is a treasured part of her history. Named for Rebecca's opera-singing grandmother, Rebecca "Pearle" Goldsmith who could be seen walking her cat on a leash at water's edge well into her seventies, Pearl is a commemoration of those summers.

A native New Yorker, Rebecca started her career in New York City in the 1970s, working her way up through various kitchen hierarchies in the French tradition from dishwasher to executive chef. She spent the 1980s working in Kennebunkport, Maine earning four-star reviews as executive chef of the legendary White Barn Inn, and Café 74, a restaurant she also designed. In the late 1980s she returned to New York, spending five years at Anne Rosenzweig's seminal restaurant, Arcadia.

In 1994, Rebecca left to take the executive chef job at Noho's Cascabel, owned by Geraldine Ferraro and her family, leaving a year later to research Pearl, which opened on July 2, 1997.

Rebecca has appeared extensively on television, from the Today Show and Regis & Kelly to Martha Stewart and many others.

Customer Reviews

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I really enjoyed this book, over all it is well written and the recipes look interesting too.
Stephen A. Burr
I particularly enjoyed the text, the stories, and photos and would like to encourage the author to write a novel, or more memoirs and stories.
Serene Night
If you buy a copy to give to someone, you'll end up keeping it for yourself and have to buy a second copy to replace the gift.
Donna Nicholson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Even the title LOBSTER ROLLS AND BLUEBERRY PIE makes our mouths water! What a gorgeous book, filled with exquisite stories and photography and, best of all, recipes from one of our very favorite restaurants in New York City. Chef-owner Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street in Manhattan is a passionate cook, and her passion comes through on every page of this very special book. We're planning to give it as gifts to friends who we know would share our enjoyment of a virtual getaway to the Maine Coast. Bravo, Rebecca and Deborah!
--James Beard Award-winning authors Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mthoran on June 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The recipes in this book are excellent. Simple and down-to-earth, but surprisingly not available in other more encyclopedic books on seafood cooking. The book is beautifully laid out. As to the family history and personal biography, for my taste the book would have been better without them. I'm sure that page after page of minutiae about her relatives is fascinating to Ms. Charles, but believe me, the rest of the world is no better for them. Five stars as a cookbook, one star for effort as a memoir/family history.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "dawnempire" on May 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm not certain what book reviewer Laura Cella bought, but there are more than 75 recipes in this fabulous book, INCLUDING the Pearl Oyster Bar LOBSTER ROLL (page # 209) and their famous BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE PIE (page # 108.) My cover has a photo of the blueberry crumble pie right on the front. The oyster roll recipe also appears in the book, as well as a wonderful Blackberry Nectarine Crisp (which I just made using peaches instead of nectarinses and it came out great!) and all of the recipes for which Pearl Oyster Bar has been named one of the best restaurants in New York City. I travel to NYC once a month and never miss the chance to eat there. This book was a joy from beginning to end. Ms. Cella's review should be immediately removed for erroneous information. Buy the book, you'll love it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Kleine on April 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie is more then just a cookbook, but a wonderfully blended compilation of stories and recipes from Rebecca Charles childhood in Maine. The stories give context to the food that is described here and motivates one to experiment with this type of cuisine. I have never spent a summer in Maine, but after creating a few meals with the book and sharing some of the related stories with gathered guests, I feel like I have insight into this historic American culture. A must have for any cook or foodie!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It is full of great stories and recipes--from the Blueberry Pie recipe on page 108 to the Lobster Roll recipe on page 209 and all of the other 70 recipes that are scattered throughout the 240 pages of this book. Rebecca covers everything: the history behind the food,the restaurant, and her family; she gives helpful tips so you can recreate the dishes easily at home--THERE IS NO BOOK OUT THERE THAT CAN COMPARE. It's not just another boring cookbook, it is an adventure.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It's touching, informative, and the recipes are easy to make. The feel of the book is great too, with the vintage photos and the great design--you just want to curl up and read all about Rebecca, Eleanor and Pearle. I got a copy for every woman in my family and they are getting it for Mother's Day.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By RAS 94115 on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love the Pearl Oyster Bar and go everytime I visit New York City. Just like Mario Batali says on the back cover, it's the best lunch spot around. So when I saw this in Amazon's cooking section, I was thrilled! This book is summer, the beach, and the ocean, which you swear you can hear in the background as you read. What a great story! I can't imagine not being allowed to stay in a hotel because I'm Jewish. As for the food, have made half dozen or so of the recipes already and they have turned out really well. The chef has great tips for cooking fish and gets to them without a lot of daunting culinary verbage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "lindamanning3" on April 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Anyone know the govenor of Maine ? He ought to give Rebecca a medal! Do you how many times I've seen folks saying here & there on the internet that they're going to Maine for a vaca because of her book?! Count me in.
Move over MFK Fisher!
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