Chow-der Down!

Let’s celebrate National Clam Chowder Day with a simple discussion of the Great Chowder Debate. Some insist it must have a clear broth base; others want it creamy and thick. Some add tomatoes; some stick to onions and potatoes. Everyone is right. Chowder is perfectly adapted to anyone’s texture and taste preferences.

The word “chowder” comes from “chaudiere,” a French word for an iron soup kettle. Originally, New England clam chowder was made in such a kettle, and was a simple, clear broth chowder… just clams, onions, salt pork, potatoes, and pepper. Gradually, people started adding crumbled hard biscuits to thicken the broth. Then came additions that include milk or cream, celery, butter, bacon, corn, salt, paprika, parsley, thyme, and carrots.


Tomatoes, a staple in the Manhattan chowder, were late comers to the clam chowder party. After all, tomatoes were viewed as poisonous before the mid-1800s.






Serve it plain or garnished. Try au natural or topped with a flaky pastry. Clams in shell or out.

Go for clam chowder any way YOU like. Red, white, clear, or creamy.


Regardless, the big, hard-shelled Quahogs remain the preferred clam of choice. That said, steams have also won prizes for chowders in recent years.

If you have favorite tastes and concepts, today is no day to “clam up!” Share the yumminess with your friends and family. Chow down!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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