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National New England Clam Chowder Day

Five Food Finds about Clam Chowder

  • An old French word chaudière, pronounced “chowda”, is a large pot for cooking.  This is the likely origin of the word.
  • New England clam chowder is a milk- or cream-based chowder, commonly made with potatoes, onion, and clams. Including tomatoes is shunned; a 1939 bill making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal was introduced in the Maine legislature.
  • New England clam chowder is usually accompanied with oyster crackers.
  • Clam chowder is often served in restaurants on Fridays in order to provide a seafood option for those who abstain from meat every Friday, which used to be a requirement for Catholics before liturgical changes in Vatican II.
  • Though the period of strict abstinence from meat on Fridays was reduced to Lent, the year-round tradition of serving clam chowder on Fridays remains.

On This Day in Food History…

1338 Charles V of France was born. He commissioned Taillevent to write what is considered the first professional “cookery” book in French, ‘Le Viandier’.

1937 BBC first aired the Cook’s Night Out with Marcel Boulestin, the first television cook

1908 New York City NY regulation makes it illegal for a woman to smoke or drink in public

1912 Konrad (Emil) Bloch was born. Nobel prize winner for his work on cholesterol & fatty acids. Discovering that high levels of cholesterol may lead to an increased risk of heart attacks.

1942 Bronx magistrate rules all pinball machines in bars and eating establishments illegal

1985 James Beard, American culinary expert & cookbook author, died at age 81.

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