Monday, April 2, 2012

Grub Ho!

Not the Try Pots, but pretty darn-good chowder!

In Chapter Fifteen of Moby-Dick, Ishmael and Queequeg enjoy a legendary chowder supper at the Try Pots. As my completion of this lofty novel draws near, I thought it would be fun to mark the event with chowder for supper.

This recipe has been a family favorite for a few years now. Who can say how it would compare to the Try Pots chowder, but you can't really go wrong with an Ina Garten recipe.

Oh sweet friends! Hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishy food before him, and the chowder being surpasssingly excellent, we despatched  it  with great expedition... Moby-Dick, chapter 15,"Chowder"

My Best tip: I use lobster base instead of making homemade seafood stock. (This is a literary blog, not a food blog. If you want to make homemade seafood stock, knock yourself out: I'm going with the lobster base.) Be sure to add a 6oz. can of tomato paste and bit of thyme to the 1 1/2 tablespoons base/one quart of water.

Second best tip: Don't skimp on butter! The recipe calls for one stick, but last time we made it my husband slipped in a second stick when I wasn't looking. At dinner, I was raving about the chowder, how it was exceptionally scrumptious. Hubby-Dear looked sheepish. I'm telling you, you could butter your bread by dipping it into your bowl.

Third tip: You don't have to use the exact seafood called for in the recipe -- just some kind of mild white fish you like will do fine. Shrimp and scallops are a bonus.
Fishiest of all fishy places was the Try Pots, which well deserved its name; for the pots there were always boiling chowders. Chowder for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and chowder for supper, till you began to look for fish-bones coming through your clothes... 


  1. You and Jeannette should get together to celebrate. Some of us are a little more skeptical about seafood. But then again, I don't think I've ever disliked a food that included two sticks of butter.

  2. I'm not a huge seafood fan myself. My husband once worked at a restaurant that served a seafood chowder. He coaxed me to try it and I fell head-over-heels in love(with the chowder and him!) This Ina Garten version is the closest thing I've found to it.

    Last night we only used one stick of butter. I came down to have a little nibble after I put the kids to bed and the whole pot was empty. My husband and oldest son had gone back for seconds and thirds.

    I didn't have thyme or white wine on hand yesterday. No matter. The lobster base I used is called "Better Than Bouillon" I bought it at my local grocery store.

  3. What a fun way to celebrate reading this chapter! Hmmm a chowder that I could substitute whitefish for clams... That I might be up to trying.

  4. Yesterday we used tilapia fillets. I think we've used flounder in the past. You just cut the raw fish into bite-size pieces and toss into the pot for the last ten minutes of cooking time.

    Don't forget some crusty warm bread :)

  5. What a way to bring a novel "alive". Enjoy!


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