A History and Celebration of an American Tradition
An appreciative examination of the New England clambake, Neustadt divides her study into three parts: historical (social, economic, political, regional, and cultural) influences on the clambake; a close focus on the Allen's Neck clambake as a cultural phenomena in its own right; and a critical examination of the central elements of the clambaking tradition--food, ritual, and festival.
The author views the clambake as a unique American folk tradition with interesting connections and rich resonances with other aspects of American culture and history.
"Both a loving celebration of an annual community event, the century-old Allen's Neck clambake [in Massachusetts], and an insightful examination of how public rituals like it help people define who they are."—New York Times
"Makes a much needed contribution to American Studies by illustrating how much the discipline would profit from taking foods and foodways more seriously. . . . Neustadt brings a humanist's appreciation of historical narrative and of archival graphics (photographs, paintings, prints, ads) to her study . . . and a social scientist's alertness to function and structure. . . . She has the eye of a Eudora Welty."—American Studies
"Neustadt offers a vivid history of an American regional culture. (Cited as a 'Breakthrough Book.')"—Lingua Franca
"A book as rich in themes as a clambake is rich in flavors."—New England Quarterly