I am on a quest of samp. "What is samp?" Well Samp is twice-cracked corn that is stewed various ways until it is a mush. It is an old New England/Long Island food that was passed to us by the natives of the US Northeast.
My father used to feed it to us in the depth of the New England winter, and I was never a fan as a child. He would stew it all day on the stove with a good half pound of some sort of hamhock and a bit of salt. I would pour even more salt and as much pepper as I could muster. As an adult, and in charge of my own kitchen, I have some ideas to use ham that should make it taste a bit better.
The real trouble with my mission is that you can't just go to your local, or even specialty, shop and pick up some samp. My father has quite a few stories about how he would find samp by calling around in the days before the Internet, only to find that they were asking him how many train-car loads he wanted. Fortunately for both of us, my father has found a local supplier here on Long Island, and on my way home, I stopped by the store and inquired if they had any samp.
The local store is in Jamesport, NY which is close to Riverhead. The store is aptly named "The Jamesport Country Store." Last week I stopped by and found that they didn't have any samp but were expecting it soon. The visit was not entirely futile, as i was able to find myself some beach plum jelly, and while it isn't as good as the jam my grandmother used to make, it certainly was good.
I returned to the store yesterday on the way home and got to meet the owner of the store, a gentleman named Herb. He hadn't gotten his 500 lbs of samp in yet, but took my name and phone number so that he could notify me when he received it. Of course samp wasn't his typical request so we got to talking about local family and history. Eventually the location of my house, and the old family farm came up and it turns out that he used to spend many a night at my house back with his friend used to rent it from the previous order. He even mentioned that they had made up T-shirts that said something to the effect "Windsong farm: halfway house for bachelors." It is too bad that he didn't have a T-shirt to trade for one of our family T-shirts featuring the cottage on the next plot.
I am hoping the samp comes in soon so that I can make a batch up and get my father's supply before my next trip to sea.