View From The Comfy Chair: Clam Chowder!

Joel Vernier

I was about to sit down into my “Comfy Chair” when my wife yelled out: “Joel, please shovel the snow before your nap!”

Of course, if I took my nap I would have more energy to shovel the snow, “I’m on it!”

This would ordinarily be no big deal, but my trusty snow blower is in the shop for repairs. The good news is that it is still under warranty, the bad news; they said they had to send the unit to the manufacturer and that it would not be back for a month. So between now and February or March I have to shovel by hand.

I’m well aware of the risk of hand shoveling, so I shovel it when it hits two inches. So, for a 6-inch snow I would shovel three times. I push it more than I lift it to save my back and keep my heart rate down. It does take longer, but the shovel rarely blows snow in my face. It’s much quieter, and I don’t have to go to the gym afterwards. Of course I probably would not go to the gym anyway.

When I finish, I usually take some time to change clothes and shower if needed. Then I’m looking for something to warm me up! My favorite choices are soup, then coffee, blanky and settle in for a nap.

I love soup, all kinds, but my favorite after shoveling the snow is New England Clam Chowder! It could be that I love getting revenge on something white, or that I love seafood, potatoes and butter, which I do.

I believe the real reason is that it was my Dad’s favorite soup. He would traverse Detroit looking for his favorite bowl of clam chowder. He would go anywhere, hole in the wall diners, bars, friends houses and fancy eateries’. He would come home with all kinds of canned and pouched chowder looking for the perfect taste.

At first I could not even think about eating a soup with calms in it. Then I watched a movie where there was a man-eating clam, and I guess I figured if they would eat me, I would try eating them first!

I joined my Dad on many excursions to try a bowl of chowder. Some of the bars smelled like beer; when I was younger I did not like it. Of course in those days you could smoke in any restaurant, I did not like that either. One day we went to a nice bar-restaurant in Royal Oak, the Red Coat Tavern. It seemed to transport you back in time to early days of our country when the English called the “Red Coats” back then. They were called that because they wore red coats, notably because the enemy would not see you bleed or something like that.

We ordered our bowls of New England Clam Chowder and it arrived. I waited for Dad to take the first spoonful, I’m not sure if I wanted to make sure it was safe to eat or to hear his critique of the chowder. I saw a big smile on his face, and he said this is it! I grabbed my spoon and scooped up some chowder with chunks of potatoes, clams and rich buttery roux, the smile came across my face too. It was the best tasting chowder ever!

Dad has since long past away, sure miss him, but for years he would return to the Red Coat Tavern and dine in or buy a couple of bowls to go for him and mom. I continued the ritual of going there and enjoying the best chowder.

When I took business trips to the New England area, I tried chowder at many places but none for me matched the Red Coat Tavern. Whenever I go to the Detroit area, I try to stop in for a bowl.

At home, I take a can of chowder, “Doctor” it up with a can of clams, some shrimp and a few sprinkles of “Old Bay Seasoning” and heat it up. It always reminds me of my Dad.

 

“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others. – Joel

Author of: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer”. joelmvernier@aol.com

© Joel M. Vernier January, 18 2018

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