Yesterday Glen had a meeting with two of his favorite Rhode Island clients. The talk turned to George’s and our lunch there. Do you know what they said? They’d stopped going to George’s because the clam chowder didn’t taste like clam chowder.
I knew it.
My RI grandmother made clam chowder and it was simple but fussy process. She finely chopped salt pork, browned it in a large pot with chopped white onions and then added diced potatoes. She liked her diced potatoes to be small. She covered them with a little water or clam juice, put them to boil and once they were done added clam or quahog juice and chopped clams or quahogs (usually quahogs) and salt to taste.
Sometimes she cooked the potatoes separately and added them to the clam juice, onions, salt pork and chopped quahogs mixture.
I do not know why.
She made “red” chowder, which uses a combo of tomato juice and clam juice. It’s known at “Manhattan” chowder in our local restaurants. The thick creamy white chowder is called “New England” chowder and the plain clam broth (Banjo Man’s favorite) is Rhode Island chowder.
So now you know.