Here is an excerpt from an article written by a friend of our family. Here the author describes how Chubby innovated the traditional clambake.
In approximately 1923, Chubby Woodman, the then patriarch of the Woodman clan and the inventor of the fried clam, conducted his first clambake. An entrepreneur in the truest sense, he realized the financial potential that these events could possibly have. Up to this point, clambakes had been exclusively put-on utilizing what was known as Indian Style cooking. The cooks would literally wrap the entire meal in cheese cloth, place it on heated rocks, and then cover it with seaweed; actually baking the contents under a blanket of kelp. Besides being less than sanitary, this method was somewhat of a hit or miss proposition, as it was up to the cook to correctly gauge when the food was adequately done. If the meal were uncovered too soon, it would render the food inedible; inversely if it were not uncovered soon enough, it would be too well done. In addition, this method was highly labor intensive and could not easily be adapted for large group feedings.
The challenge then for Woodman, was to develop a system that would insure a high quality meal while facilitating large numbers of paying customers. The result was that he improvised a way of steaming food stainless steel tubs. Today’s clam bake, as we know it, is not as much of a bake as it a clamsteam”. In less time Woodman could serve considerably more people and have more bakes in a single day; a feat, which is as efficient as it, is profitable.
And so, sixty years after Chubby Woodman revolutionized the clambake world, their popularity had continued unabated. With as many as twenty in a single day, Woodman’s has become increasingly synonymous with clambake excellence. As its reputation has grown so too have the bake requests, occasionally from some rather unlikely locales. Departing for destinations literally all over New England, the company has had inquires from as far as California, Texas, and Kentucky. To date, however, Marietta, Ohio, had been the actual farthest. Catering at some most picturesque sites in the region, Woodman’s will entertain groups of any size and as diverse as company picnics to family reunions.