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  • Susan Low

Now, THIS is what you call a lobster roll...

If you travel to New England, you’ll find there is a lot of inter-state disagreement and rivalry about the ‘proper’ way to cook particular dishes – lobster rolls among them.

What you see here is a Connecticut-style lobster roll, which is warm, butter-sautéed chunks of lobster served in a toasted hotdog roll. Biting into it is like putting on a cashmere jumper on the first day of winter. Pure comfort. Maybe because Connecticut is my home state l’m biased, but to my mind, this version is way better than the Massachusetts version, which is cold lobster chunks mixed with mayo in a bun – nice enough but not a patch on the buttery warmth of a good, 'proper' Connecticut-style lobster roll.

There are even fiercer regional disagreements about chowder. There's New England-style chowder (or chow-dah), which has a rich, creamy base for all those sweet clams; then there's Rhode Island-style, made for purists, with a clear broth as its base; and Manhattan-style chowder, made with tomatoes in a rich red base. The latter is considered seafood sacrilege by New England and Rhode Island-style chowder lovers – and everyone knows that tomato sauce and clams is just plain wrong... not that Manhattanites actually give a stuff about what anyone else thinks.

So, food: does it bring us together or give reason for division? I sometimes wonder.

I try to visit New England every year but this was the first time I've made it in two years, thanks to a little thing called Covid. No visit is complete without fried clams and at least one good lobster roll and steamers, like these.

If you haven't had them, steamers are a kind of soft-shell clam you find in New England. You serve them steamed (obvs), dipped first in broth to rinse away any grit or sand, then in butter – because everything tastes better with butter...

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