Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old 222old.jpg

My Something Old this week is the oldest printed recipe for New England clam chowder.


The website What's Cooking America gives a great history of chowder:

According to the book 50 Chowders by Jasper White, the first and oldest-known printed fish chowder recipe was in the Boston Evening Post on September 23,1751. The use of herbs and spices in this recipe show the typical 18th century English taste for lots of seasonings:

First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning
Because in Chouder there can be not turning;
Then lay some Pork in slices very thin,
Thus you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish cut crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt, and Spice;
Parsley, Sweet-Marjoram, Savory, and Thyme,
Then Biscuit next which must be soak’d some Time.
Thus your Foundation laid, you will be able
To raise a Chouder, high as Tower of Babel;
For by repeating o’er the Same again,
You may make a Chouder for a thousand men.
Last a Bottle of Claret, with Water eno; to smother ’em,
You’ll have a Mess which some call Omnium gather ’em.

I'm not qualified to critique the Post's recipe, but the last line of their poem needs some work!

Apparently, the word chaudiere first turns up in the sixteenth century, as a variation on the Latin word for a hot bath, calderia. From there, we derive the old Spanish word caldaria, meaning stewpot, and that's where the word "chaudiere" comes from. Amusingly, that's also where the word for the hole in a volcano comes from!

The word became chaudiere started to refer to the stew rather than the stewpot along the coasts of Cornwall and Brittany, where fishermen were welcomed back to their villages with a large communal pot of fish stew.

It didn't become a clam stew until we reached the New World. There were a lot of clams around here. A *lot*. The indigenous people along the East Coast ate *a lot* of clams. As in, the piles of shells sometimes persist to this day. The Europeans and their descendants didn't get into the clam business until much later; it was 1832 when Lydia Maria Child, the woman's right activist, published a clam chowder recipe in her cookbook The American Frugal Housewife. And much as I admire Lydia Maria Child, who was both a women's rights activist, AND an abolitionist AND an indigenous rights activist--in the early 19th century!--I have to accuse her of an atrocity.

She included catsup in her clam chowder.

Lydia, what were you thinking?


I've been thinking about chowder because it's gotten ever so slightly chilly. I love a good New England clam chowder, but I can't eat it because it has too much dairy in it, so I've been looking for non-dairy alternatives. So far, the idea of adding a cashew cream to the soup seems to be the best plan (along with some version of non-dairy milk). The simplest solution would be coconut milk, except that that would alter the flavor of the soup so much it would feel like you were in Bangkok rather than Cape Cod. If anybody has any ideas for how to make a passable chowder without milk or cream, please let me know in the comments!

Something New

My Something New today is really the reason for doing a Something Old, Something New. It's so rare that I find Something New worth sharing--maybe that's a problem with me rather than the world, but there it is. This week I found something new worth sharing. But be careful--this thing is one hell of an earworm!

This is British singer/songwriter Adele's first release in six years. This is freaking amazing.

I love that she puts an analog cassette into an analog tape deck at the beginning of this video. That refers, perhaps, to the fact that Adele doesn't use Autotuning to "fix" her voice. This song also has a *real* piano and *real* bass. It's not a digitally Autotuned voice with a bunch of synthesizer sounds (not that I hate synthesizers, but they're not a replacement for actual instruments).

This song is the #1 most listened-to song on Spotify. Ordinarily, I don't take that sort of number as gospel, because there's more to the world of music listening than Spotify. But when you're talking 78 million listens within the first four days after release, well...I don't think anybody can argue with those numbers.

Certainly Rick Beato doesn't. By the way, if you're a music lover, you could do worse than to check out his channel:

Something Borrowed

We "borrowed" the word for "apricot" from Latin, Greek, Arabic, and French.


A gentleman at Bon Appetit
wrote a wonderful article on the fruit and its name:

Most fruit and vegetables have names that give no clues as to when they're in season. If someone showed you the words "tomato," "cabbage," and "grapefruit," your odds of guessing when to pick them would be about even with throwing a dart at a calendar. Others, like summer squash, spring onions, and winter wheat, practically scream their season from the rooftops. But some split the difference with a subtler approach: the useful data is encoded in the name, but you have to dig a little to find it.

Such is the case with the apricot. At the most basic level, the name comes from the same root as the word "precocious," and essentially means the same thing. The apricot, compared to its cousin the peach, ripens earlier in the year (and the botanical sense of "precocious" precedes the figurative one in English, but only by about fifteen years--good luck keeping a poet away from a gardening metaphor), so Pliny called it a praecocia (literally, "early-ripen").

Apparently, the word traveled through berikokkia (the Greek), through al-burquq , the Arabic, through albaricoque (Spanish) then into French abricot When English speakers started using it, the word was abrecock, but it eventually became more similar to the French.

I've been thinking about apricots because they're full of lignans, which are very good things for anyone going through menopause to eat. Also for anybody who just generally wants to keep their brain healthy. Pomegranates, flax seeds, and chickpeas are good too!

Something Blue

I found a Chinese artist I like: Zhen-Huan Lu. I'm not much of an abstract or modern art aficionado--about as far away as I get from realism is Impressionism and Surrealism--and I'm really particular about my surrealists. So it's nice to see someone doing work like this:

c84a022a4597a08d82afafabc712527c (1).jpg

12 users have voted.


Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

How are you navigating the Empire today?

I hope you all are having the best and happiest day possible.

9 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

my "Something Borrowed."

Already an incredible cover within days of Adele's song being released:

6 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Just when you start thinking that maybe the constant messaging is right, and human beings are rubbish:

No matter what they do, they can't entirely shut down the signal.

6 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

QMS's picture

Not New England (white) nor Manhattan (red), but clear ..

1 pound shucked clams
3 cups clam juice
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup butter
2 onions, diced
2 large stalks celery, chopped, with leaves
1 (15 ounce) can fingerling potatoes, drained and quartered
3 tablespoons dried dill weed
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 drops hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (Optional)

Bring the shucked clams, clam juice, and chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender. Stir the onion mixture and potatoes into the clams. Season with dill, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Simmer 15 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

6 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture


Thanks for the recommendation. Turns out there's a couple more kinds of clam chowder than I knew (just found out about a local variant: Minorcan chowder. Includes datyl peppers.)

5 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

are better than Prozac. Of course caveats apply.

That's what I read this summer anyway. This summer I was compiling a notebook with information gleaned from Drs. Perlmutter, Lustig, D.Amen, and some others (whose names I can't remember at the moment) about the use of food as medicine. All of them highlighted the huge influence of food on our physical and mental health .

They go into detail about the gut-brain connection and the measures we can take to protect the gut, brain and liver. What we eat is the issue that figures large in all their books. If I remember correctly apricots make an appearance in the list of good-to-eat for some reason as well.

I love apricots (and that apricot print) they are in my opinion, a very aesthetically pleasing fruit. Plus they taste really good. I don't know anything about lignans though. Thanks for the interesting OT.

8 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture


Food apparently has a very powerful impact on the mind. Not surprising, really.
The "second brain" idea is one of the most useful the medical world has come up with lately, IMO.

5 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@randtntx for a reason I cannot remember, triggered my late husband's asthma.

3 users have voted.


Thanks for the OT. I am currently in a soup mode in my life and the chowder recipe given by QMS looks like something I could make. Have made Green Chile chicken stew recently because of all the green chiles being roasted here in New Mexico. Also made a version of the Three Sisters Stew (squash, beans and corn) and threw in some green chiles for good measure. The weather here is getting colder and so soup seems to be a natural choice.

Love apricots. There is a small apricot tree in my section of the condos here and two years ago, we had a great season for apricots and were able to go and gather a bowlful daily for our eating pleasure. No apricots this year but really enjoyed the story of how “apricot” came to be here in the English version.

Hope all have a good day. Waiting for the outside temp to hit the 50’s and then go for bike ride before the afternoon winds hit.

6 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

usefewersyllables's picture

And dill. Last time we were in Boston, we got a wonderful clam chowder right down on the waterfront at a little hole-in-the-wall whose name escapes me now, and it was stiff enough to stand a spoon in and loaded with dill. Changed my life, that did.

My wife is a native Bostonian (her brothers both worked in the ticket office for the Red Sox), and I lived there for my college years, so it is always a nice thing to be surprised by something new in New England cuisine. The saddest thing is that the no-name closed, because that was my absolute favorite seafood chowder prior to that discovery.

But don't fear the coconut milk, either. You don't have to go Asian with it- go Caribbean! During the time we spent down island we discovered so many to-die-for recipes. This recipe is very similar to one we had in another little hole-in-the-wall in Carriacou- and it also changed my life. Well, that and lobster pizza.

Needless to say, we are actually watching some baseball here lately. Go Sox! And never, *ever*, say the word "Buckner" in our house, unless you want to get clouted with something heavy...

6 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Lookout's picture

We love the old time feel of Cedar Key...old Florida not the touristy culture of most beaches today. They took on NE chowders...and won!

But second to tourism, something else has put Cedar Key on the map: commercial clamming an Florida clams. It’s grown into a multimillion-dollar industry, giving the local economy a shot in the arm and providing much-needed jobs in Florida’s first key.

And from an ecological standpoint, shellfish aquaculture is regarded a source of habitat enhancement and improved water quality. Marine farmers have bragging rights that their work supports and enhances the state’s fresh, sustainable “green” seafood industry.

Tony’s Restaurant in Cedar Key is located at 597 2nd street at the corner of SR 24 and 2nd street in the historic downtown district. Tony’s is in the ground floor of the old Hale building- circa 1880 right across the street from the Historical Museum

Diners at Tony’s between 2005-2009 encouraged Chef Eric to enter the chowder into the Great Chowder cook-off located in Newport Rhode Island.

In June 2009 Chef Eric took on the best chowders around the world in Newport.

The result was 3 straight clam chowder world championships. In June of 2011 Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder was inducted into the events Hall of Fame and the recipe retired from the competition.

In 2012 Tony’s Chowder was made available in a can for consumers around the world to enjoy.

6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lily O Lady's picture

That lines sticks in my mind from over 45 years ago when I studied Marlow’s plays in college. It’s from Richard II, I think. The queen is pregnant and has apricots buried in manure to force them to ripen and the greedily eats them without washing as her craving is so strong. Lasciviousness is suggested by these images. Oh, the joys of Elizabethan literature!

I remember one time making my daughter’s day by buying apricots. And when I was little I loved dried apricots which were more like shoe leather back then and not the the lovely whole ones you find now.

Thanks for the dive into food etymology . Chauderiere sounds like it is related to the French word “chaud” which means hot. It’s all a word chowder, isn’t it?

3 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

enhydra lutris's picture

Can't help with the chowder - avoided it my whole life because of some horrible experiences with oyster stew. Finally decided to try it for the first time this spring in Pismo, at Splash, locally famous for chowder, and really liked it, but not sure it is relevant. For one thing, Pismo clams are huge. Don't know the recipe anyway.

I've watched some Beato vids, generally liked them. How the hell did we get to a place where real music is per se so unusual as to be novel and something to marvel over, no autotune, real piano, real base, continuous non-compiled vocal, Que Mirac! Largely explains why I've listened to so little new or newish pop music.

Apricots are great and so is the painting (or is it pastels?) of the boat. Busy getting ready for another journey, so back to work.

be well and have a good one

4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

for someone with an allergy. Milk is about 88% water, which is removed when making cheese and butter. So for each cup of milk in your milk based chowder recipe use 1 cup water (8 oz) and 1 oz plain chevere cheese (soft goat cheese). Yes, the total is a little more than a cup, but the flavor is great you will not mind eating the little bit of extra volume. The soup can be thickened to cream consistency with corn starch, wheat flour or rice flour. If some of the soup is going into the freezer use rice flour, it does not separate and will remain the consistency originally cooked.

Freezing the chevere cheese logs does not hurt the texture when used for cooking. I buy a few when on sale and store in the freezer. I do not use the ones flavored with herbs or fruits, many brands add a thickener. I simply add my own herbs, spices or fruits to make a spread for crackers.

2 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture


goat's milk doesn't work any better for me than cow's milk. Same for sheep. It's sad, really. I love cheese.

I eat small amounts of dairy (as when I eat fried chicken that uses buttermilk), but couldn't use actual cheese.

0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver