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The Legal Inquiry - Howard Douglass
             Larry Finch
             Manhattan Clam Chowder - Al Figler
             Rhode Island Clam Chowder - Larry Finch
             Rhode Island Clam Chowder - John Bannon
             Chris Fieldhouse
             Martin Watts
             Deborah Lysaght
             Good New England Clam Chowder - Larry Finch
             "Manhattan Clam Chowder" in Rhode Island - Bruce Trinque
             A Snowy Day in the Pacific Northwest - Al Figler
             Patrick O'Brian's Chowder - Jean A.
             Bob Cox on Cows
             Corn Chowder from the Islands - Randal Allred
Clam Chowdah - Bob Fleisher

The Legal Inquiry - Howard Douglass
I received this in the morning's e-post. Could some suitably-situated lissun validate or refute the assertion?
"It is illegal to put tomatoes in clam chowder" - In Massachusetts The Primary Purpose of this Email is to Deliver You a "Crazy USA State Law of the Week."

Larry Finch
Only in Massachusetts? It should be illegal anywhere!

Al Figler
Clearly you have not tasted Manhattan Clam Chowder, sir!

Rhode Island Clam Chowder - Larry Finch
Unfortunately, it's hard to get anything else in Manhattan or environs. I'll concede Bermuda Fish Chowder benefits from tomatoes.
By the way, in Boston, where they must be breaking the law, Manhattan Clam Chowder is called Rhode Island Clam Chowder.

John Bannon
But Rhode Island clam (or quauhog) chowder is clear - no milk OR tomatoes.

Chris Fieldhouse
"There are only two things which make visiting the US worthwhile, reflected Bond. The oyster stew at New York's Grand Central Station, and chipmunks."

Martin Watts
Did he say how the chipmunks should be prepared?

Deborah Lysaght
Milk?!? Holy Mother of God! Milk! In Eire, our seafood chowder is laced with cream ... (that's if you can call leek and potato soup with a few old prawns and a lump of salmon 'seafood chowder') .. Ah well we make up for it with the bread!

Good New England Clam Chowder - Larry Finch
Good New England Clam Chowder is made with a lot of clams, clam broth, cream and potatoes cut into small pieces. The potato starch thickens the mix to the point where a spoon will almost stand up in it. Legal Seafood (that's the name of a family-owned chain of seafood restaurants in the US Northeast) also makes a fish chowder that is similarly prepared. Leek and Potato soup in the US does not have seafood; it stands on its own as one of the great dining pleasures. We frequently make a meal of it with some good coarse bread and a selection of cheese.

"Manhattan Clam Chowder" in Rhode Island - Bruce Trinque
Although clear broth clam chowder is usually associated with Rhode Island (and creamy or white clam chowder with the rest of New England), I can report from personal experience that clam chowder with a tomato-based broth is not unknown in Rhode Island. For 20 years my parents ran a fish-and-chip shop in Providence, RI, and their clam chowder was always what is typically called "Manhattan Clam Chowder".

A Snowy Day in the Pacific Northwest - Al Figler
Talk about excellent timing - the snowstorm that has locked the Pacific Northwest up for the day has given me an excuse to attempt a Rhode Island-style chowder. No cream nor milk, just a vegetable broth base. Tomatoes (hope the folks in Massachusetts don't report me), other vegetables along with clams and shrimp. A spot of white wine for flavor.
Even if I've violated every known notion of what a chowder should be, I think it is a prefect night for whatever it should be called.
Cheers and thanks to the list for the idea!

Patrick O'Brian's Chowder - Jean A.
When POB visited the Parker River National Wildlife Preserve at Plum Island in 1993, he had dinner in neighboring Newburyport, MA.
What did he eat?
He had Massachusetts chowder and famously pronounced that it was "served in Heaven on Friday nights."
Admittedly, Rhode Island chowder has tomatoes, like New York chowder. I wonder if those showy New Yorkers who summered in Newport in the 19th century brought it with them?
Rhode Island is also noted for a 'clear' chowder.
(Consult 'Lobscouse and Spotted Dog' for the last word on the kind of chowder Jack ate in Boston. You can bet that it had no tomatoes in it, because they were called 'love apples' in New England at that time and were thought to be poisonous. Indeed, they belong to the same family as Deadly Nightshade.)
If you are presented with a bowl of something like library paste which will support a spoon, you have some sort of bisque in front of you, not chowder! Real historic chowder, the sort that was eaten every day, like the chowder Ishmael was given on Nantucket in Moby Dick, was milky, not stiff. Milk was used, not cream. People could not afford to make their chowder with cream! (And think of what it would have done to their arteries!)
Cream tastes good, and I am not against using it, with restraint, but real chowder was made without it.
And the potatoes do not thicken the chowder to any extent, either!
(My chowder history is extensive: I was raised in New Bedford, had forbears that fished the Grand Banks from Provincetown, and Gloucester, and now I live on the North Shore.)

Bob Cox on Cows
I always liked that the cows that produced the milk for said chowder were fed on fish parts, which gave the milk a fishy taste, intensifying the flavor of the final product.

Corn Chowder from the Islands - Randal Allred
Corn chowder is a favorite sometimes on the island (and I know that some New Englanders would say that if there ain't no seafood it ain't no chowder), but they often put sliced Portuguese sausage in it in abundance, along with hunks of baked breadfruit. Some folks here make potato salad with breadfruit (called ulu) also. Very tasty. Ulu is much more delicately textured, and more nutty flavored, than potatoes.

Clam Chowdah - Bob Fleisher
I'm not a Bostonian except by ancestry, but try this recipe, which was developed by a friend of mine who currently teaches geology at Colorado School of Mines. It's not quite traditional, but it's very good:
6 Tbsp butter
2 large onions, or 1 large onion and 2 leeks
1 green pepper
1 cup chopped celery, including leaves
1/2 cup flour
3 cans minced clams (8 oz cans)
1 cup clam juice
2 cups milk
1 large bay leaf
1/4 tsp white pepper
salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2-1 tsp thyme
1/2 handful parsley flakes (chopped or dried)
tabasco (dash)
dry vermouth
1/4 tsp ground celery seed
basil or summer savory (a small bit--optional)
3-4 potatoes
6-8 Tbsp heavy cream
Melt butter in large deep pan.
Chop 2 large onions, or 1 large onion and 2 leeks (use the leeks if they are available). If leeks are used, include green parts, well washed.
Chop the celery, stalks and leaves, to produce about a cup.
Chop the green pepper. If more greenery is desired, use a second pepper.
Cooked the chopped vegetables in the butter at medium heat until they are soft, yellowish, and tender. Stir while sautéeing.
Stir in 1/4 cup flour. Coat vegetables well, and cook at very low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently; do not allow the mixture to burn, and do not let the flour-vegetable mass congeal to a paste.
Pour in the juice from 3 8-ounce cans of minced clams. This will be about 1 cup. Add one more cup of (bottled) clam juice.
Add 2 cups milk and slosh around to distribute the vegetables.
Add the bay leaf, white pepper, salt (to taste, but remember that clams are to be added later), paprika, thyme, parsley, a dash of tabasco, a couple of glugs of vermouth, the ground celery seed, and a small bit of basil or summer savory if desired.
Pare and chop 3-4 potatoes into roughly 1/2-inch cubes or chunks. If the pieces are too large, they won't cook fully. Add to soup.
Simmer, stirring frequently and tasting often. Cook at least 30-45 minutes. The soup will thicken considerably.
When happy with the taste and consistency, add the 3 cans of clams and 6 to 8 tbsp of heavy cream. Stir.
Serve (don't let the clams cook, or they will toughen) with paprika sprinkled on top.
This chowder seems to go well with baking powder biscuits or cornbread. In my experience, this amount serves 5-8, depending on appetites.