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The History of Clam Chowder

Clam chowder was first introduced in New England by French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers. By the 1700s, it had become a common dish in the area. By 1836, it was being served at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America. It was even described in Moby Dick. New England-style clam chowder was undoubtedly the first clam chowder, but it certainly isn’t the only one. The first recipe for Manhattan clam chowder was published in a 1934 cookbook by Virginia Elliott and Robert Jones called Soups and Sauces. The main difference between New England-style and Manhattan-style clam chowder is that New England clam chowder uses milk or cream and is white while Manhattan clam chowder uses tomatoes and tomato paste and is red. Soon after Manhattan clam chowder debuted, New Jersey created its own version. Rhode Island also has its own version, which is quite distinctive and uses quahogs (a type of large clam) and a clear broth; the small state also has a red version of its famous chowder. North Carolina, Florida, and various other states also have their own versions of clam chowder. Today, clam chowder remains an extremely popular dish, with the New England-style and Manhattan-style versions being the most well-known.

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