Or as my grandparents call it, "chowdah".
They are from New England, and after 50 years of living in the Midwest, they still can't seem to put an "r" on the end of certain words.
I don't notice their accents, but I do love when new friends will turn to me and excitedly exclaim, "You never told me your grandparent's have accents!"
I suppose I have to give my grandma credit for bringing chowdah into my life.
When I was a small child, and every other kid I knew was eating chicken noodle soup, I was being served piping bowls of Campbell's New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers.
I loved the creamy, briny taste.
Heck, I even loved the small grain of mandatory sand that came in each can.
The sudden crunch of it between my teeth would always make my chewing screech to a halt. Slowly, I would remind myself that what I was eating was from a faraway, sandy, place. Instead of letting myself get grossed out, I would remind myself of the stories my grandfather told me of living close to the beach and his long days spent on the shore.
He and his "gang" would steal a large kettle from one of their mother's kitchens and as many potatoes as they could carry. Then, they would set off towards the beach and begin their day by filling the large kettle with ocean water. They would place it over a fire that they had built with drift wood, and into that fire they would toss the potatoes. As the water slowly started to boil, they would set out on a hunt for periwrinkles. Yes, I know they are periwinkles, but that is not how my grandpa pronounces it. He says periwrinkle, so periwrinkle it is!
Plunging their thumbs into the wet sand would cause the periwrinkles to pop up. As soon as each boy had dug up a good amount, they would toss them into the boiling, salty, sea water, and head out into the waves to swim the day away and work up an appetite.
Once hunger had gotten the best of them, they would sit around the fire and break apart their charred potatoes, exposing the white, fluffy, insides. They would dip them into the salty broth, and use them to scoop up heaps of chowda, which, I am certain, had lots of gritty grains of sand in it.
Grandpa never talks about the sand, though. He only talks about how that was the best meal in the whole wide world.
Because my family doesn't like clams, (or periwrinkles) I opt for corn chowder these days.
It's almost as good as clam chowdah, and there isn't ever a hint of grit in it.
Lana's Winter Corn Chowder
3 cups frozen corn
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tb sugar
2 Tb butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups half & half
3 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and arrange the corn in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast, stirring occasionally, until the kernels begin to darken or about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and sugar.
Cook, until the onion softens.
Add flour, stirring constantly for 5 min.
Next, add potato, corn, half & half and broth.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil
Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender.
Adjust seasonings to taste and serve in giant bowls.
Suggested topping: sliced green onions, roasted red pepper, lots of cracked black pepper, grated extra sharp cheddar cheese.
Sides: biscuits n butter, of course!