The Joys of Clam Chowder by primusboy


									The Joys of Clam Chowder!
What can be more comforting than a big bowl of thick, creamy clam
chowder? Nothing smells more like a New England home than the heavy aroma
of steaming clams and fresh vegetables. When it comes to comfort foods,
clam chowder has definitely got to be up there! Don't you just love
cracking some flaky saltine crackers onto a steaming bowl of chowder?
That crunchy salty texture mixed with creamy seafood goodness is a match
made in heaven!
Who could have come up with such a tasty soup? The Oxford English
Dictionary traces the word "chowder" all the way back to the 16th and
17th centuries, to the fishing villages along the coast of France. There
are also early references to the delectable dish from the early Cornwall
region in Southwestern England and also in the Brittany region in
northwestern France.
Basically, the word "chowder" came from the Latin word "calderia" which
means "a place to warm things" or "cooking pot". Originally a poor man's
food, the first known chowders were simple stews made out of vegetables
and fish. It eventually evolved into a stew of various types of seafood.
Apparently, clams were really easy to collect at the time, and so one day
someone decided one day to make chowder with just the clams - thus the
birth of the clam chowder!
How to cook
Clam chowder today is usually made out of clams and broth. Along with the
clams most people like to toss in some potatoes and onions. Sometimes
people add some celery for an extra kick, and small carrot strips or
parsley just to make it pretty. Just like any stew, all you need to do is
let the pot boil and simmer for a while, and then viola - you got
yourself some smooth and savory clam chowder!
Different kinds of clam chowder
Depending on where it's made, different ingredients are added to clam
chowder, and something they'll even come in different colors. Some people
prefer the lightness of a clear broth, and some people prefer the
comforting thickness of a creamy broth. Here are some examples:
* New England clam chowder - this type of chowder is usually made with
milk or cream. Along with the potatoes and onion, it's usually flavored
with bacon or salt pork.
* Manhattan clam chowder - this type of chowder has a clear broth, and
instead of potatoes tomatoes are added, giving it a vibrant red color.
This soup may have very well been an Italian soup (guessing from the
tomatoes!) that got coined with the word Manhattan by Italian immigrants.
* Rhode Island clam chowder - this one also has a clear broth. It's not a
popular as the first two, but it's still widely served in New England
restaurants and hotels, where natives still prefer the clear broth over
the creamy.
If you want to learn more about clam chowder, or how to cook it, or where
it came from, there are numerous sources online that you can browse
through. The more you learn about clam chowder, the more you will grow to
love it!
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