Sometimes, in Mormon congregations that see a lot of turnover, there is this thing known as the “opening social.” After almost eight years in Provo, I’ve seen my fair share of opening socials — barbecues and ice cream parties and super Mormon-y potlucks and more. Our Cambridge ward is full of students, so every fall semester brings dozens of new faces (after a summer of empty pews in sacrament meeting). This year we decided to welcome all our new friends to Boston with an authentic New England clambake, and since I’m simultaneously a control freak and the president of our congregation’s Relief Society, I was put in charge.
We’re fortunate to have a ward full of talent, including a test cook at America’s Test Kitchens and his lovely professional pastry chef of a wife, a few professional photographers, another culinary school graduate, plus lots of people willing to gather supplies and help set up and keep me from going crazy. I also credit the Belmont 2nd ward for much of our success, since they contributed a ton of indispensable institutional knowledge and all the cooking equipment. I was a ball of stress for the weeks leading up to clambake, but on the day of the event it was smooth sailing and I was happy as a clam when the whole thing went off without a hitch. (Minus a few weather issues.)
The brilliant Alana Yates volunteered to document our day, and I’ve been needing a place to share the photos and archive the fruits of all my anxiety. (This will also help remind me, for next year, that all the planning is totally worth it, and it will be way easier to pull it off next time.) These photos are in no particular order, since I was a bit too harried to even notice some of what was going on (like all the fun the little kids were having — thank you, Millers, for organizing!).