Inspired By: Moby Dick

Posted by Courtney |


http://cinnamonrolls.org/images/New%20England%20Clam%20Chowder.jpgOne of the world's great masterpieces, and in my mind, the most perfectly written novel of all time, Moby Dick by Herman Melville has everything. It has a beautiful plot, brilliant character development, spectacular scene setting, and best of all, clam chowder.

Chances are, even if you've never read the book, you know it opens with "Call me Ishmael" introducing the narrator. He's soon confronted with a humorously awkward situation, in an inn in icy Nantucket, when the only room available is one which must be shared, bed and all, with a cannibal named Queequeg from some far off land. Melville does a flawless job of setting the scene in Nantucket, making you not just understand how cold it is, but causing you to feel a chill as you read. Enter the clam chowder. But the author doesn't just sit our friends down to a bowl of chowder, Melville goes further, and devotes an entire chapter of Moby Dick to New England clam chowder:
"A warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits, 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 favourite fishing food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's clam and cod announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment. Stepping to the kitchen door, I uttered the word "cod" with great emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few moments the savoury steam came forth again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine cod-chowder was placed before us." -Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Some books can make you crave foods, some books can make you miss foods, and some books can make you remember food, but Moby Dick makes you taste clam chowder.

There are two best chowders I've ever had, one was at my Dad's restaurant in Steveston, BC and one was served in a real San Francisco sourdough bread bowl at Boudin Bakery in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco. I've yet to visit New England, so I doub't I've had the very best, but here's a ridiculously great sounding recipe: The Cliff House Clam Chowder Since 1872

Make yourself this recipe and then go curl up with the book:

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