I semi-recently took a trip to New York to see my brother and my college friends. Now for those of you who have been following along, you will have noticed that I frequent the East Coast, and that I continue my quest for awesome sandwiches on these little vacations. While I did have some great sandwiches on this trip, you’ll have to wait for future blog posts. This post is about a little seafood shack in Connecticut and a fish sandwich that signified the change of the seasons, the beginning and end of the school year, and the promise of fun with great friends.
Though there are two main seafood shacks in New London that have similar traditional menus, Fred’s Shanty is the place you go when you want a fish sandwich. Simple, cheap, and fresh, there really isn’t much that’s better on a crisp fall day that’s reminiscent of summer.
In an earlier post, I touched on the idea of the connection between food and memory. In the same way that a smell or sound can take you back to a previous moment in your life, food can also be associated with memory. Just how I have many good feelings and memories associated with sea urchin, the Fred’s Shanty fish sandwich evokes visions of countless warm fall and spring college days spent outside – on the green, in the arboretum, at the beach – accented by trips to a small seafood shack on the Thames River. And of course, these memories are attached to this sandwich not just because the consumption is recurring, but because of the strength of the emotions that the memories call up. Yes, the fish sandwich from Fred’s Shanty is good, but it doesn’t stand out in a crowd of fish sandwiches. In fact, the main reason to go to Fred’s Shanty instead of Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock (the other sea food shack in New London) is because it’s cheaper, not because the food is better. And though I have similar, and definitely more Lobster Dock memories, they involve a sandwich of a different sort. It is this sandwich, the simple yet delicious fish sandwich, that carries ties to the lush life of college.