EWWW gross to those of you that put tomatoes in New England clam chowder. I apologize for my brief outburst and judgement, however, I know I'm not alone as we're engrossed in clam chowder season. Please save that tomato thing for your Manhattan-style for sure.

I will say that the fact that it's illegal to put tomatoes in New England clam chowder seems a bit dramatic, however, I'm all for keeping this funny, classic, Commonwealth of Massachusetts law on the books. It's not hurting anyone. And did you know even Maine tried to do the same thing back in 1939?

Tom Hermans
Tom Hermans

According to News and Views JB, a century after New England Clam Chowder was around and filling the bellies of us here in Connecticut and beyond, an attempt was made by the Maine state legislature to "sanctify the purity of the recipe and literally make it illegal to put tomatoes in the chowder."

Apparently, Massachusetts succeeded where Maine failed because the law was passed in 1939 and is still on the books, according to WCVB. Meanwhile, Connecticut and the rest of New England didn't think much about making this a law.

Here's a bit of fun fact history for you, too. According to Eater, New England clam chowder arrived via the French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers. It was first put on the menu in 1936 in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country.

manhattan clam chowder, american cuisine

Of course, we both know there is that dreadful tomato-based clam chowder known as Manhattan clam chowder. News and Views JB points out that tomatoes in clam chowder are a thing, even if New Englanders can claim the original, right?

Although New England Clam Chowder can be prepared “Manhattan-style” with tomatoes or a tomato base, or in a clear broth served in parts of Rhode Island, for chowder traditionalists such as myself – New England Clam Chowder does not live up to the title unless it is presented in a thick, milky base chock full of freshly shucked tender clams accented by cooked potatoes cut to varying sizes, and seasoned to utter perfection with chopped onions and ground pepper. Add a few chowder crackers and that is the unmistakable flavor of New England.

Cheers to those fun laws.

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