Manhattan Clam Chowder, French Fried Potatoes, Iced Tea

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Feb 20 10:06:25 UTC 2000


Manhattan chowder?  Yes, but it came from Gloucester, Swampscott, Nahant,
Cohasset, Scituate, all around the Cape, and up and down Narragansett Bay
from the Point to Providence.
--THE SOUP BOOK (1949) by Louis P. DeGouy, pg. 222.

A "Vegetable Clam Chowder" of 1929 had clams, chopped onion, diced carrots
and potatoes, stewed tomatoes, and thyme.  Very similar in content were two
others in the same year, a "Coney Island Clam Chowder" and a "New York Clam
Chowder."  All of these were certainly members of one family and all were
radically different from the New England clam chowder.  The word "Manhattan"
may not have appeared on chowders until the 1930s or later; the first
occurrence of this earthshaking event remains undocumented.  Unwritten, too,
is the history of the debate, usually conducted in terms of mock outrage,
between the followers of the milk-based New England clam chowder and those
who prefer the New York version made with tomatoes and water.
--THE BOOK OF CHOWDER (1978) by Richard Hooker, pg. 9.

Just why tomato-based chowder is called "Manhattan" has never been
satisfactorily explained.
--ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN FOOD AND DRINK (1999) by John Mariani, pg. 82.

1940 EARLY _N. Eng. Sampler_ 349  There is a terrible pink mixture (with
tomatoes in it, and herbs) called Manhattan Clam Chowder, that is only
vegetable soup.

    This (I was looking for Fighting Irish) is from the NEW YORK HERALD, 7
September 1923, pg. 8, col. 6:

_New York Clam Chowder._
_Arrival of a Recipe From New Jersey._
     TO THE NEW YORK HERALD:  Here is the recipe for clam chowder which might
serve your correspondent who asks for one:  Two dozen large clams, chopped
but not too fine; one-quarter pound salt pork, diced; one-half dozen soda
crackers; one pint tomatoes; six potatoes, three onions and one small carrot
diced; a few heaves of parsley chopped fine, three quarts water, clam juice
and seasoning. (...)

     A long article of interest (although it doesn't state the magic words
precisely) is THE NATION, 3 September 1924, pg. 231, col. 2:

     Has the old-fashioned clam-chowder vanished?  This is the question which
a correspondent puts to the learned editor of the esteemed New York _World_.
We read:
    "In Manhattan restaurants the "clam chowder" has been short of clams for
many years and is nothing more than a vegetable chowder.
    "Down on Coney Island, where clams ought to be plentiful and cheap, the
conditions are even worse.  The other day I yearned to feast on a real clam
chowder with clams.  After trying three places I gave up in despair.  The
first bowl of chowder contained no clams, but I thought I detected the taste
of them.  It gave me an appetitite and encouraged me to further search.  My
second bowl was composed largely of potatoes and a chunk of tomato with the
usual cracker on the side.  It was potato soup pure and simple.
     "I then repaired to a place which some years ago prided itself on its
"famous clam chowder."  I asked the waiter whether he had any clam chowder
with clams.  'Yes, sir,' was the ready response.   But what he brought me was
a vegetablechowder.  I asked him where the clams were and he replied:
'They're all cooked up.'  And, strange to say, they left no taste or odor or
     Editor-like, the big chief of the _World_ prints his correspondent's
question, but fails to answer it.  So we will.  In reply to the mournful
query, Has the old-fashioned clam chowder vanished? we answer even more
mournfully: "In New York City it never existed."  We blush for the palate of
the correspondent if he thinks clam chowder can be made merely by the use of
clams.  O fcourse it is desirable, as he suggests, that they should be among
its ingredients.  The tendency nowadays to make clam chowder of dishwater and
a pinch of salt is to be deplored from every standpoint except the
conservation of our national resources.  But there is another ingredient as
essential as clams.  Clam chowder should be made _with milk_.
     It is the uniform failure torecognize this that leads us to say that
clam chowder never existed in New York City.  The Gotham fashion is to serve
a water broth, flavored with tomato and bacon, thickened with chopped potato,
and--in times gone by--at least garnished with small particles of clam.  Now
we submit that even in the generous old days when the particles of clam could
be tasted, and sometimes observed with a strong glass, this mixture did not
constitute clam chowder.
     No, the write of the mournful letter should ship himself somewhere east
of Gotham if he would have true clam chowder. (...)

by Miss E. Neill
Economical, Reliable and Excellent.
San Francisco: Examiner-Press, 1889.

    "French Fried" potatoes is on page 111.  The OED has O. Henry's ROLLING
STONE (1894).
     "Iced Tea" is on page 243.

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