Photography by Brian Phillips
I grew up on the West Coast but my father (from the East) loved seafood and every summer he would host a Clambake right in our backyard. So, this year I decided to continue his tradition and host a Crab Feast/Clambake right here at home.
It's super fun and very easy. Start with your bar; I like a self-serve bar so people can refill when they are ready. Leave a fresh batch of drinks on ice with plenty of outdoor glasses and cloth napkins for cleaning spills. Don't forget about the lemons, limes and tabasco for guests to add their own finishing touches.
Definitely decorate tables with simple florals; like hydrangeas and toss them into beach pales. Stagger them down the table in a sweetly imperfect pattern.
In lieu of a tablecloth, use a long strip of construction paper or just plain brown paper; be sure and tape the ends to the underside of the table just in case it gets breezy or just to keep it from sliding around. Clean-up is super easy, just untape it, wrap everything up in the paper (minus your dinnerware) and throw it all into the trash.
After everything has been cooked and boiled, just throw it all right onto the table. Keep the feast casual and outdoorsy with a hands-on policy: Let guests use fingers or seafood picks instead of forks.Set out dipping bowls of broth and melted butter, as well as empty pails for guests to toss tails and shells into.
While dinner cooks, let the games begin. Pull out bikes and skateboards, sporting equipment, or toys like hula hoops and Frisbees from the garage, and let the kids and adults play together.
Leave guests with a memory of the delicious feast—not the scent. Before the party, dunk a few washcloths or thick paper towels into cold water. Roll and stack them on a tray and place in the fridge. After the meal, serve them with lemon wedges for partygoers to clean their hands.