Coastal Living Serves Hancock's Gourmet Lobster
Coastal Living Serves Hancock's Gourmet Lobster Coastal Living, July-August, 2005. Sarah Brueggemann . The morning mist nearly obscures moored boats in Cundy's Harbor, but that doesn't keep Cal Hancock from finding what she wants. At the end of a local fishing pier, she hoists a blue crate from the water and opens it. Inside, lobsters flick their legs and gesticulate with their claws. "They're liking me," says Cal. She examines their undersides and softly squeezes the tops of their shells. How does she choose the best? "They're all good," Cal says. "They're Maine lobsters." She should know. Cal directs Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company, a mail-order business that creates savory pot pies, stews, salads and sandwiches. "I wanted to have a company that shows I'm from Maine," says Cal. "And the one thing that says Maine more than anything is lobster." In her youth, Cal harvested 25 traps and spent summers working at her grandmother's restaurant. Grandma Hazel taught her how to prepare lobster dishes. (The first rule: lots of meat, no filler.) "And she showed me how to treat guests really well," says Cal. That's one lesson this hostess takes to heart. As friends and family arrive at Cal and husband Jack Rosberg's seaside getaway, she guides them down a path to the private dock. Encrusted with barnacles, bright orange and yellow buoys suspend from low pine brances. A sign with today's fare written in chalk welcomes visitors. Across a gangplank, the party platform gently rocks from side to side. "I love being on the water," says Cal, "and this dock makes you feel like you're on a boat." Both the setting and the menu suit her passion for seafaring. "I like portable hors d'oeuvres," says Cal. "The rule is that it has to be something I could serve while sailing." She and Jack relish their voyages in the Caribbean, the Great Lakes and the incomparable Casco Bay off the coast of Maine. But she's most relaxed spending time at home. Cal appreciates Down East hardiness and honesty. "A typical Mainer is private, respectful of the land and water, generous, and resourceful," she says. While too modest to claim those characteristics, Cal proves unflappable. "Nothing ever bothers her," says Jack. "She never gets flustered. And she loves the chaos of putting on a party." If someone forgets to chill the wine? No worries. "Let's stick the bottle in the ocean for a little bit to cool it off," she says. While sipping Spiked Lemonade, the group shares Cape Neddick Crap Dip and lively conversation. Zesty Gazpacho accented with huge chunks of lobster is served in old-fashioned glasses. People are happy when they eat lobster," says Cal. "It's a fun and celebratory food." By the time the blueberries-and-cream dessert arrives, moans of "No, I'm too full" turn to "What did I do with my spoon?" Jack surveys the contended smiles and concludes, "We should nail the picnic table to the dock and eat all of our meals here." "Gus" on the dock after a hard swim.