Friday, January 21, 2011

A Rhyming Recipe for New England Clam Chowder Day!

New England Clam Chowder Day
I discovered this rhyming recipe for New England Clam Chowder many moons ago and thought I would share it with you today for National New England Clam Chowder Day. It's from a recipe book titled The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering by author and chef, Jessup Whitehead. You'll notice, the recipe really hasn't changed very much since 1903.

Jessup Whitehead was an influential food columnist at Chicago's Daily National Hotel Reporter in the 1800s and author of an assortment of cookbooks including; The American Pastry Cook © 1894, Cooking For Profit © 1882, and The Chicago Herald Cooking School Cookbook © 1883. He was also "Chef de Cuisine" at the historic Hotel Monte Sano in Alabama.

New England Clam Chowder: The Steward's Handbook & Guide to Party Catering
Chowder: Fish chowder is an ancient dish which has undergone alleged improvements. It is, originally, a sailors' stew, consisting only of fat salt pork, onions, potatoes, crackers, water, salt and pepper; stewed in a covered pot.
To make a good chowder and have it quite nice,
Dispense with sweet marjoram parsley and spice;
Mace, pepper and salt are now wanted alone.
To make the stew eat well and stick to the bone,
Some pork is sliced thin and put into the pot;
Some say you must turn it, some say you must not;
And when it is brown, take it out of the fat,
And add it again when you add this and that.
A layer of potatoes, sliced quarter inch thick,
Should be placed in the bottom to make it eat slick;
A layer of onions now over this place,
Then season with pepper and salt and some mace.
Split open your crackers and give them a soak.
In eating you'll find this the cream of the joke.
On top of all this, now comply with my wish,
And put, in large chunks, all your pieces of fish;
Then put on the pieces of pork you have fried—
I mean those from which all the fat has been tried.
In seasoning I pray you, don't spare the cayenne; !
'Tis this makes it fit to be eaten by men.
After adding these things in their reg'lar rotation,
You'll have a dish fit for the best of the nation.

Note: Fish-broth and milk are to be added.
ConGress Chowder: "Every spring these parties of Congressmen and officials used to go down the Potomac on the old steamer Salem to the fishing grounds and enjoy freshly caught shad, opened, nailed to oaken boards, and cooked before large wood fires. On one of these occasions Mr. Webster had obtained from Boston some rock cod, crackers and salt pork, and he made a chowder. (ed note: Daniel Webster also had a favorite punch.) He had a large kettle, and having fried his scraps, he deposited the successive layers of fish, crackers and potatoes and onions over and over until there was no more room. Then pouring in a half gallon of milk he rubbed his hands, exclaiming: "Now for the fire. As Mrs. Macbeth said: If 'tis to be done when 'tis done, then 'tis well 'twere done quickly. I quote from memory, but I shall never forget his joyous expression of countenance and the merry twinkle of his deep-set, burning black eyes. The chowder was a success, and so was a medicinal preparation of Santa Cruz rum, brandy, a dash of arrack, loaf sugar, lemons and strong iced tea. No one who ever drank Marshfield Punch forgot its seductive excellence, but some found to their sorrow that it had a fearful kick."
1. The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering
2. The American Pastry Cook
3. Cooking For Profit
4. The Chicago Herald Cooking School
5. Image from wiki


  1. That was such fun to read, Louise. I'm so glad you are still doing some of your celebration days!

  2. Oh my gosh! I must honor this day! I love all of the fun "days" that you post and the stories that go with them, Louise. I'm definitely going to find a way to have some NE Clam Chowda today ;)

  3. I've been craving soup all winter, but chowders are my favorite. Might have to make some this weekend...

  4. I've always wanted to try clam chowder!

  5. That must be a filling dish !
    Not for a couch potato like me ! :-)

  6. New England Clam Chowder is one of my all time favorite soups! This rhyming recipe is a great laugh.

  7. The clam chowder looks positively delicious Louise! And I love the rhyming recipe, how cute. Happy to see you back - missed ya!

  8. Hi there Louise,

    Gosh, I didn't realize that you were back in the saddle with your blog! That's so nice to see. I missed your wonderful posts. :) And, speaking of your blog, it's just looking fabulous! Your photos, for eg., in this post are simply beautiful. The soup looks utterly divine. So glad to see that you're back!!


  9. You're hitting all the high notes here, love clam chowder.

  10. how fun! maybe i'll write my next recipe in rhyme form, just for kicks. :)

  11. Louise, what an interesting post...enjoyed reading it and had my imagination fly :-)Clam chowder sounds good now!

  12. Hi Louise, I love your blog; it is full of interesting and fun facts and trivia. Beiing a foodie; I feel very at home here.

    We are clam chowder lover; missed the national clam chowder day; but will make up for this coming weekend. Thank you for joining me; sorry it took me a while to ge back; computer issues.

  13. I should have marked the day on my calendar, but didn't so I missed the celebration. I really enjoyed the background information you shared with us and want to go on record as saying NCC is one of the best soups ever. I love to visit here. I just have to learn to do it in a more timely fashion :-). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  14. Hi Barbara! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Oh yes, celebration days are still on the menu!

    Hope you enjoyed your New England Clam Chowder, girlchef I sure did!!!

    Marion has requested Potato Chowder for dinner tonight. I think I'll make it cheesy:) Enjoy your chowder weekend <Channon:)

    Texas Clam Chowder? I'm not sure about that duckie. However, if I recall, you make a "mean" Chicken Chowder.

    YOU! a couch potato Sidney I find that hard to believe:)

    I adore rhyming recipes Marjie. Pretty ingenious but not as much as I LOVE New England Clam Chowder!

    Thanks Reeni. It sure is GREAT to be back!

    Hi Jane! Back in the saddle and peddling along that's me:)

    Thanks OysterCulture. High notes? You should hear me talk. Did I ever tell you they use to call me squeaky:)

    I would LOVE to see you write a rhyming recipe Grace. I've tried a coule of times to no avail. Good Luck and please, do share...

    Flying imaginations are a good thing, Juliana. Now, if I could only have some of that irresistible Fu Bao flown in I'd be one very happy camper!

    Hi Rita! Thank you so much for your generous words. I'm delighted to know you feel at home here. Drop by anytime. And, if you ever visit Pennsylvania, be sure and let me know. Have a GREAT Chowder weekend! I can't wait to get my new Bread Machine and try your recipe. Actually, I have lots of bread machine recipes on my list which is growing as we speak, lol:)

    Hi Mary!!! Nice to "see" you. You drop by any ol' time you wish. The door is always opened. Mark your calendar; National Chocolate Cake Day is the 27th and National Blueberry Pancake Day is the 28th! Enjoy:)

  15. This soup looks really good ! looks DELISH! Love clam chowder all the time!

  16. Thanks Suzanne:) Do you have a blog, I'd love to visit.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise