Page 13

Dan’s Papers November 26, 2010 Page 13

Mom’s Cooking Montauk Cookbook has a Really Strange Recipe from my Mom By Dan Rattiner About a month ago, someone dropped off a copy here at the office of a cookbook they had bought at a yard sale. They left me a note. “Your mother has a recipe in it,” this person wrote. The cookbook was titled 1959 Montauk Guide and Cookbook, was 248 pages long, was filled with history, maps, recipes and advertising, and my late mother’s recipe was on page 56 right after Lobster Chowder and right before Montauk Lobster Rarebit amidst about 100 recipes. It was the only thing she had contributed. I found her contribution to this cookbook to be incredible. LOBSTER AND SPAGHETTI CASEROLE Ingredients 1/2 pound of butter 1/2 pound of sharp cheddar cheese 1 pinch of dry mustard 1 bottle of ketchup 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce 1 pound of spaghetti 2 pounds of cooked lobster Preparation Melt butter and cheese in double boiler. Add ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce.

another, in the store that my dad ran for a quarter of a century in that town. The last names of the contributors are the same as those of many locals there today. They are children and grandchildren of these cooks, all. Gilmartin, Gosman, Tuma, Duryea, Dickinson. It had been a huge community undertaking. There are recipes about preparing eel, clams, scallops and oysters. There are recipes on cooking pheasant, duck, rabbit, venison. There are recipes for swordfish, tuna, flounder, cod and bass. There are 10 pages worth of recipes for lobster, including my mother’s. There are 20 pages of various desserts featuring cranberries and blueberries and apples and so forth. All of these things were available fresh from the land or the sea in that community. Here’s an example of how to cook tuna, which apparently was a problem. “How often I have heard this lament?” wrote the editor, “‘I sure do like to catch tuna, but I never know what to do with them afterwards. Can’t get the neighbors to take the fish either, because they don’t know how to prepare them.’ Okay, such worries are over. Now you can have your tuna and eat it too. So can the neighbors.” What follows was a recipe on how to can tuna. You use a pressure cooker. (This was a cooking device that got invented in 1915, but was then largely abandoned after many of them exploded. Now they are back, but this time with safeties on them.) “Use only the white meat. Cut up tuna and soak in salted water (1/2 cup of salt to a gallon

Never do I recall her making this dish. And I certainly, from the looks of it, would have remembered it.

Dan Rattiner’s second memoir, IN THE HAMPTONS TOO: Further Encounters with Farmers, Fishermen, Artists, Billionaires and Celebrities, is now available in hardcover wherever books are sold. The first memoir, IN THE HAMPTONS, published by Random House, is now available in paperback.

Cook spaghetti and drain. Fill a large buttered casserole with layers of spaghetti, lobster chunks and melted cheese sauce. Bake covered for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serves 8. * * * Now in 1959 I was a teenager and I lived with my younger sister and my mom and dad in their home on South Fairview Avenue in Montauk. My dad owned White’s Drug and Department Store. Mom helped in the store and was a housewife. Never do I recall her making this dish. And I certainly, from the looks of it, would have remembered it. What was she thinking? Was this a joke? Apparently not. From the looks of some of the other recipes coming from the housewives of Montauk (and some from their husbands) there was a whole lot of cooking done with mayonnaise, chili sauce, bacon fat, butter, flour, cornflakes, cayenne pepper and vinegar. This was how people ate, at least in Montauk, in 1959. I spent a lot of time looking through this book, remembering some of the people who had contributed to it. I knew almost all of them, of course. They were all, at one time or

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Dan's Papers Nov. 26, 2010  
Dan's Papers Nov. 26, 2010  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...