Chowdah!

It’s been called prejudice, but it’s loathing, and nothing is unreasoning or illogical about it. I came by the loathing step by step, day by day, and experience by experience. I do not attempt to hide my feelings in the tiny interstices of my mind. So what is it that creates such an active distaste? It’s a tourist restaurant fish chowder.

The subject came up just the last night. My daughter mentioned chowder, and I rolled off the restaurants within a hundred and fifty-mile radius with an acceptable offering to the gods of cod. Ten. I admit there may be more but, regrettably, right here in New England a decent fish chowder is not ubiquitous. I have seen scores of so-called restaurants that serve a watery concoction of fish juice, milk, and fish scraps.

Incredibly some visitors to New England have complained to me about their “dis-epitomable” experiences at famous Boston restaurants. One of these locations is a chain. The “chowder” comes frozen in large plastic bags that are warmed in hot water before serving. How do I know? I met one of their former cooks ( my oldest son).

finding myself, unavoidably, in one of these locations I avoid tiffs by ordering safer items – hamburgers. A good chowder is thick. A small prominence of cod sits in the middle like a seamount rising from the briny ocean. The fish is fresh, not reconstituted by injection or thawed out.

OK, I better stop now before I start in on the crackers, good halibut stew, finnan haddie, or delicious grilled haddock. I haven’t even covered the traditional fishhead in a chowder, cod cheeks, or tongues. So please don’t get me going! This weekend I know exactly where I am going to eat.

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