Treaty by the Sea

September 5, 1905

The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) focused on the imperialist desire both countries had, wanting control over the Manchurian Peninsula and Korea. Russia had been fighting for Manchuria since the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible’s conquest of 1.5 million square miles of land in the 16th century. Japan had only recently emerged in the world theatre as a potential powerhouse, having spent the past couple of centuries in isolation.

Japan surprised Tsar Nicholas II with a number of crushing blows to the Russian army. After several failed attempts at peace negotiations, US President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in and contacted the Tsar in Moscow. Roosevelt had initially been pro-Japan, but as the war dragged on, he became a little bit concerned about the strength of the Japanese military and how it’s potential might affect US “relations” in Asia as time marched forward.

Russia and Japan agreed to come together in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and in August 1905, the Treaty of Portsmouth was negotiated over the course of 12 mediation sessions. The actual meetings took place across the river at the naval base in Kittery, Maine, where mahogany furniture (patterned to mimic the White House Cabinet Room) was shipped to the General Stores Building. Although not present in Maine and New Hampshire, Teddy Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his instrumental role in the armistice, which was signed at the Hotel Wentworth in New Castle, New Hampshire on September 5, 1905.

New England Lobster Rolls

3 – 1 1/4 lb live lobsters
1 finely chopped celery stalk
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T chopped fresh chives
3 T mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper
6 New England style split top hot dog buns
2 T room temperature unsalted butter

Using a large pot, fill it with one inch of water and add a generous amount of salt. Boil the water, add the lobsters and cover the pot, cooking the lobsters for approximately 10 minutes (or until they are bright red). Put the lobsters on a baking sheet (with a rim) and let them cool off.

Crack the lobster shells, take the meat out of the tail and claws, then cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix the lobster, celery, lemon juice, chives and mayonnaise in a medium bowl, adding salt and pepper as desired.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, spread the flat sides of the buns with butter, then cook until golden (about 2 minutes). Fill with lobster mixture. (The lobster meat can be prepared a day ahead, chilled, then added to the buns before serving)

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