For our twentieth Cook-Off, we're making chowdah. However, most of the world is sadly located outside of New England, and thus erroneously spells and pronounces the dish chowder. In a magnanimous gesture to promote national, even global, harmony, I'll follow suit. (In this post.)
Of course, spellings and pronunciations are just the tip of the contentious iceberg, friend. Take a good working definition of the dish. I'd like to say that chowder is a milk-based soup -- but that'd be wrong (think manhattan or red clam chowder). I'd like to say that chowder must include fish or shellfish -- but that'd be wrong, too (think corn chowder). And how about this fascinating disagreement: though many would argue it's a definitively American dish, is it east coast or west coast? Here's wikipedia on chowder:
However, the contentious Australians at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Center offer this brief definition:
Chowder is any of a variety of soups, enriched with salt pork fatback and thickened with flour, or more traditionally with crushed ship biscuit or saltine crackers, and milk. To some Americans, it means clam chowder, made with cream or milk in most places, or with tomato as "Manhattan clam chowder." Corn chowder is a thick soup filled with whole corn (maize) kernels. Chowder is often commonly associated with New England cuisine.
I of course believe that wikipedia is certainly right. But who's to say? Perhaps chowder exists precisely to provoke these tiffs. Look, for example, at this snit between me, menton1, and a few others over the definition of Providence chowder. Grown men, I'm telling you, nearly coming to blows over the subject.
Creamy soup originating from the west coast of the USA, usually made with corn, potato and shell fish.
Surely we can provoke that sort of heated debate here in the cook-off -- some real cassoulet- or gumbo-worthy arguments. Check out our own Sara Moulton's RecipeGullet recipe for oven baked chowder, lovebenton0's hearty scallop chowder, or Chef Matt's "Fat Guy" lobster chowder. And while there are eGS cooking threads here and here , but, honestly, there's not much around here. Yet.
So get cookin', you chowdaheads!