episode 50 :: a new england christmas

I never understood why we always ate fish on Christmas Eve when I was growing up. In fact, I think I didn’t even realize the monotony of it until I was twelve.  Never questioned it either.  I just ate my yearly Christmas Eve tuna casserole with a humble side of STFU.

It turns out that it was an Italian tradition. And apparently Jesus was a vegetarian.  Who knew?

In an Italian or Sicilian house, you never eat meat on Christmas Eve out of respect for the birth of baby Jesus.  I didn’t get these important details until much later, as I spent the latter part of my life spending Christmas Eve feasting on an array of animal flesh — roasted chickens, steaks, and pork roasts.  No disrespect to the birthday boy intended, of course. Had I known, lobster and crab would have been on the menu for certain.

In this episode, Greg Cain from finelobster.com returns to the show to share some of the traditions of a New England Christmas, and answers all of the questions about lobster I didn’t get a chance to pester him with the last time we had him on.

Listen to episode 50 now

Looking for a last minute gift idea that will blow the roof off the place?  Why not treat someone you love to a live Maine lobster, delivered right to their door. And if you’re worried about freaking the family out by having a live sea creature delivered to their house in a box, there’s always frozen lobster tails, crab cakes, lobster bisque, or a gift card.  Of course, Greg has a holiday special offer that will certainly get you in the holiday spirit.  Listen to the show (or read below) to find out more.

In this episode:
• Tuna Casserole – a Christmas Eve tradition I never knew about until it was too late
• Fishing along the California coast may soon be a thing of the past
• Avery Brewing’s Sui Generis Barrel-aged Sour Ale (courtesy of Rick from Big Foamy Head)
• Anthony Bourdain’s new book “Medium Raw” hits bookstores June 8th
• Greg Cain from finelobster.com visits
• How to make your own lobster bisque
• Top Chef Quickfire Challenge Cookbook review
• A year-end send off: Clip collage from My Life as a Foodie 2009

Music in this episode by Nickelback.  Buy the song in the iTunes store. Additional music by Michael Giacchino.

Orders from finelobster.com totaling $100 or more qualify for FREE 2-day shipping.  Order $125 or more and they’ll throw in two FREE lobster tails!  Who the hell is going to say NO to that?  Enter the coupon code FREELOBSTER at checkout and enjoy a nice lobster feast courtesy of Fine Lobster.

Happy Holidays!  See you in 2010 – harder and stronger.  Be safe out there, kids.

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  1. You have 50 shows? jesus after your first 49 I figured you’d quit. *haha*

    What I did was “Fast Food Fish Friday” during Lent a few years ago since, being catholic, you don’t eat meat on Fridays during lent.

    I’ll see if I can get Lushie’s hardcore Italian aunt to talk about it over christmas on a reecorder.

    Great show as always. Stay true to the food and only drink the good stuff.

    • That’s what it was – Fish Friday! I think this is why I was under the impression that it was a catholic thing. Would be interesting to hear from other Italians on this tradition. It’s a lot more interesting to me now than it was when I was a kid. Thanks for your comments, Spoon.

  2. Phil!!! Great show on lobster – AGAIN! I sense a theme here.

    I have to tell you I saw this come over iTunes this morning at work and I had to listen to it right away (normally I wait). We’re all talking about going in together on a gift for the owner of our company and you may have just given us our idea this year. Even if it’s a gift card, we’re going to do this. He’ll love it, and he’s hard to buy for.

    Great show. Happy New Year! The recap clip show was great.


    • Paul, thanks for your comments, and for supporting Fine Lobster. I think it’s a great gift idea for anyone who loves seafood, but an excellent idea if you’re trying to surprise someone with a gift they really won’t expect getting. Glad you liked the clips too. There were so many I could have added there, but I didn’t want to make the show longer than it already was. Have a happy New Year!

  3. Happy Christmas Phil! Love the show, and I love Top Chef. The cookbook sounds great too – I’ll have to pick that up. I wondered how they were able to correctly write out those recipes, but you figure they took the dish back to their kitchen and re-created it. I don’t think it’s that hard.

    Love the lobster talk. Is there anything we don’t know about them now? I think lobster fishermen don’t have to go out as far to harvest lobster as the Alaskan Crab fishermen do. Completely different animal.

    • Bill, that’s more than likely what they did to recreate those dishes. I looked through it thoroughly after the show and the recipes seem pretty simple. Again, it’s more about technique – especially if you’re trying to get the plating exactly like they have it in the book.

      I too think we know just about all we need to about lobster after this interview. 🙂 After the first interview, I was thinking “Damn. I should have asked him this. I should have asked about that.” So when I got the opportunity to do it again, I followed up.

      The only question I didn’t ask him that I intended to was if he was a Patriots fan, and if so what he thought of going for it on 4th and 2 from your own 26 yard line when Payton Manning has about a minute and a half left on the clock. But he was really busy and I didn’t want to get off topic.

      Thanks for your comments, Bill.

  4. Just found your show and I really like it. You provide great information in an entertaining way. I’m really interesting in trying some of your recipes too. The year end review was really fun. I’ll have to go back and catch up on some of your episodes.

    Thanks for providing some entertainment to a new foodie.

    • Thanks man. Glad you like the show, and I hope it provides you with some motivation to cook at home more often. My show is less about cooking than it is about food, but it’s all the same sometimes. Whatever you pull from it, I hope it’s positive.

      Happy Holidays!

  5. Congratulations Phil, 50 awesome episodes!

    And Happy Holidays to you and to your wonderful Katrina!
    Love and Hugs to both of you.

    • Afaf, you’re the best. Thanks for your support and comments this year. It’s really been a fantastic year getting to know you and Ray and I look forward to an even better 2010!

  6. Another great show, Phil! Happy Big 50! So glad I met you all this year. Loved hearing all the Bourdain stuff – I just got the Les Halles Cookbbook and aim to do a duck confit. While I was listening you and Katrina were eating at Ludibites with our fave girl, Jo. I’m sure it was good. Happy Holidays!

    • Appreciate it, Charles. It has been such a great year for me, and meeting you guys and bonding like we have has been perhaps the best part of it.

      I’m so glad you got a copy of the Les Halles Cookbook. The way the recipes are written, you will have a good laugh. A lot of the classics are there, and the directions are written as if a drill instructor was telling you how to cook.

      Ludo Bites was awesome. I will be writing about it over the weekend (when I have time to collect my thoughts). For me, eating at Ludo Bites is less about the food and more about the experience. Ludo is more than just a chef – he’s an artist. That’s why I think it’s perfect that this latest pop-up was inside of an art gallery.

      Thanks again, Charles. Happy Holidays!

  7. Enjoyed this one, Phil. Seems like you and Greg get along nicely. I really like your interviews and it’s interesting to see how many you have done this year. Your interview with Afaf is still my favorite. It seemed so real and relaxed.

    I read an interesting article recently about fishing in the Pacific. They said that much of the stock gets depleted early and that fishermen end up closing their seasons early because there’s nothing left to catch. I remember a year ago or longer, you were talking about how overfishing was going to start affecting the sushi industry. Maybe it’s starting?

    Anyway, love that song you played. I just bought it from iTunes. By the way, you say “99 cents” but everything is $1.29 now. I guess the prices went up. Just wanted you to know.

    • Drew, thanks for the comments and for the clarification on iTunes. I noticed that myself when I was linking back to some of the music for the show. The quality has always been reasonable to me, so bumping up the bit-rate is fine by me. 😀

      Was great to talk with Greg again. Thanks for your feedback on the interviews. Afaf’s is definitely tops on my list, and I really enjoyed having Vic Tim on the show as well. I could talk to both of them forever. It’s been really fun for me having more interviews on the show, and I hope to bring more of that next year.

      Thanks again for your comments. Have a great holiday.

  8. Phil,

    I am so happy for you (and me) that you made it to 50 episodes. As I have said before, and will do so most likely in the future, what you are doing is great for food, awareness, and entertainment.

    About the overfishing. I think it is a major concern and the governments should get off their asses and protect the stocks for the future. The major problem I see are the illegal fishing that goes on in a massive scale. I remember reading somewhere that the country most responsible for illegal fishing was Japan. They were caught pillaging fish off the shores of America. They have and insatiable appetite for fish and the worldwide sushi craze will continue to deplete the fish. I try to follow the safe fish list whenever possible, find it here for your area: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx

    I wish you and Katrina a very happy Christmas and new year.

    By the way, duck is on the menu at our house. We found a very nice poultry farm by us that raises all the poultry free range. When I say free range I really mean it. They have a large range that includes an apple orchard and wooded area. When we went to get the duck he walked out into the orchard with a bucket and clanked it around. Suddenly, we were surrounded by ducks. We picked the one we wanted and it was prepared and plucked. Yesterday we ate the liver and gizzard, with a neck soup. Today the duck is getting slow roasted. Ten minutes before it is finished I will flash fry the skin crispy in some peanut oil. Accompanied by some rotkohl and potatoes roasted in the rendered duck fat and rosemary.

    I will stop before I write a book.
    Take care and good feasting, I can’t wait to hear about it.

    • Kirk, thank you for your continued passion and for sharing it with us here on the site. Your description of the duck was so perfect that I almost imagined what that might have been like. What an awesome experience. I so wish things were like that here, you have to pay for living in the city, unfortunately.

      I hope your holiday was enjoyable, and that your holiday feast(s) were as delicious as they sound.

      Thanks for your kind words, and encouragement about the show. So greatly appreciated, I can’t even tell you.

  9. I’ve been listening to your shows via iPod (instead of website) and keep forgetting to post comments.

    I can’t believe it’s already been a YEAR since we met. Lucky me.


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