Point/Counterpoint: Manhattan vs. New England Clam Chowder
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Endless Simmer Editorial staff. The comments posted here are solely the opinions of the authors, no mater how lame or convoluted.
Devil Katt: I don’t know why we’re even debating this. It’s like Pros Verses Joes when it comes to which version is better, and that version is named after the island Manhattan. No ‘foo-foo’ cream sauces to cover up the taste of OUR clams. Milk and cream is supposed to be poured over cereal, not soup, you New England numbskulls! Save it for yer Fig Newtons, ya maple swillin’ wannabe’s! Nothin’s better than the natural, rich flavors of the broth, potatoes, tomatoes and BACON, combined with fresh clams, carrots, onion and celery. And by the way, you can’t make Manhattan clam chowder if you don’t have clams. But if you take the clams out of New England Clam Chowder, whaddaya got? Cream of Potato soup! If New England Clam Chowder was so good, they wouldn’t try to kill the taste by pouring crackers over the top of it. That glop is so gummy some places have to serve it in a bread bowl just to sell it! Fergetaboutit!
Oh, please! You can’t seriously think that your deep-sea version of vegetable soup is comparable to the rich, smooth, ‘heavenly’ taste of what is universally recognized as clam chowder everywhere else in the world. First of all, chowder takes some time to develop. Each step in the process marries the flavors of the previous steps, which lead up to the addition of the cream. We’re talking about a symphony of flavors, not a tomato bisque that somebody dumped clams into. Chowder should be sophisticated and indulgent, not a watery red broth that most people first eat on a dare. My clam chowder takes time to prepare and build. If I want to make Manhattan clam chowder all I have to do is throw some clams and potatoes into a bowl, pour in some V8 juice and nuke it for a couple of minutes. Bam! Manhattan clam chowder!
DK: Why you little halo wearing dork! You call making mortar outta milk and flour sophisticated? Your slop is one step removed from biscuits and gravy! So you dairy fairies think that pouring cream on top of everything makes it taste better? Manhattan Clam Chowder CELEBRATES the taste of the clam by PAIRING it with ingredients, not HIDING it! That starch bomb you call chowder is basically vegetable yogurt without the culture! You got flour, butter, cream, potatoes and bacon! There’s enough carbs in that tub of sludge to power you through two Boston marathons. The only way that you can tell that clams are even in there is from the name of the dish!
AK: Along with everything else, your taste buds have gone to hell! If I substituted pasta for potatoes in your bowl, I’d be making linguine with clams—which would be a huge improvement over a dish that looks more like salsa than chowder. The white, creamy richness of MY chowder is reassuring and comforting. It is the one ‘true’ chowder between the two, and I reject your false chowder! There is only one path to the kingdom of chowders, and that path leads straight up to New England, not down to Manhattan. Oh, when will you see the light?
I agree that New England-style chowder is the ONE TRUE CLAM CHOWDER. We have lots of amazing clam chowder in Washington state, where I grew up, and it’s alllll cream-based.