Food For Thought: Nancy's Cape May Days

Oct 19, 2016

After a recent trip back east, Nancy Leson is reassured that sometimes you really can go home again.

For five years starting in the mid '70s, Nancy lived and worked in the National Historic Landmark town, Cape May on the Jersey shore." And no matter how long I've been away, it's exactly the same for me."

Nancy's first waitressing job was at the 140-year-old Chalfonte Hotel, subject of a recent Saveur magazine feature.  "The story profiled not only the hotel, but the family that cooked there, which was the fourth generation, Dot Burton and her sister Lucille Thompson," said Nancy. 

Chalfonte Head Chef Lucille Thompson.

When Nancy dropped by the Chalfonte kitchen she found very little had changed.   

"I walked through the door; Lucille was siting at the table I used to sit at 40 years ago and make rolls or shape crab cakes," she said.

Nance also visited The Lobster House, where she waitressed in a sailor suit to enjoy a lobster "whose claw was as big as my hand."  Her tenure was short. "I only worked there five minutes because they canned me," she remembers.

That's a big lobster claw. Must be them nukeyuler tests.
Credit Nancy Leson

But that's another story.

"I don't like nostalgia, unless it's mine." – Lou Reed

PS: Birds love Cape May, too.