Editorial Page

Clam Chowder, Delicious Meal On A Budget

December 28, 2021,

Dining on soup should not just be a necessity when you are not feeling well.

Nor a delicacy that assumes the role of an appetizer consumed before the real meal or star of the table cloth arrives in the server’s palms.

Especially when the soup is named Clam Chowder.

It has star billing as a main course all be itself.

Especially during the holidays.

Consumed in a restaurant, it deserves all of the trimmings but here we’re talking about enjoying it at home, especially if we are going to cocoon for quite some time.

Dining on Clam Chowder at home provides you with an incredible opportunity to prepare it at a very low price.

Like maybe $7, serving four. Truly. Here is how.

Especially if you shop at the 99 Cent Store.

Do the 99. That’s what the overhead speaker always says.

We do the 99 like crazy. Shake a leg. We dance to it. Especially after we look at how much we can fill up at least three bags for under $30.

99 Cents Only Stores is an American price-point retailer chain based in Commerce, California.

Previously, the store offered all products at 99¢ or less.

Most products are still priced at 99.99¢ or less, but some products are now sold at higher price points, sometimes much higher.

We noticed that.

They offer a number of products at $1.99 or $2.99, especially when you get into the fancier meats in the refrigerated section, like Sweet and Sour Chicken, the General’s Chicken or Cajun styled dishes.

We even like to buy our towels, socks and athletic muscle supports there.

Founded by Dave Gold in 1982, there are stores are located in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.

The company also operates Bargain Wholesale, which sells wholesale to retailers across the United States and exports to more than 15 countries from showrooms in Los Angeles. It also exhibits at trade shows in Las Vegas and Chicago.

99 Cents Only Stores dates back to the 1960s when the company’s founder, Dave Gold, inherited a tiny liquor store in downtown Los Angeles and decided to run a test by selling bottles of wine at a fixed price-point of 99 cents.

The test was instant success.

We can understand why.

The store is ideal for the basics and sometimes a few fancy items when they have them in stock.

Trust us, we have shopped at one of the major chains and just one bag with less items cost us $44.

Some things you can get at the major super markets but you’ll be surprised how must shopping at the 99 Cent Store saves you.

For us, making creative Clam Chowder soup is a breeze.

“We lived near a supermarket, and whatever they threw away, we would get it, and my mother would make soup. Or she would get a big can of lard, a big can of meal, a big can of flour, a big can of beans, and fix the same meal for months.”… Ernie Banks

Again, we’re keeping the budget to $7.

Clam chowder is any of several chowder soups containing clams and broth.

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In addition to clams, common ingredients include diced potatoes, onions, and celery. Other vegetables are not typically used, but small carrot strips or a garnish of parsley might occasionally be added primarily for color.

We have our favorite additions as well.

Typically if there is left over chicken from a previous meal, we’ll place some in our chowder and let it simmer for some time.

Please don’t forget the mushrooms. That is sensational in chowder as well.

A garnish of bay leaves adds both color and flavor. It is believed that clams were used in chowder because of the relative ease of harvesting them.

Clam chowder is usually served with saltine crackers or small, hexagonal oyster crackers.

We absolutely love it with garlic buttered toast.

The dish originated in the Eastern United States, but is now commonly served in restaurants throughout the country, particularly on Fridays when American Catholics traditionally abstained from meat. Many regional variations exist, but the two most prevalent are New England or “white” clam chowder and Rhode Island / Manhattan or “red” clam chowder.

There are two other variations that are superlative as well.

Delaware Clam Chowder typically consists of pre-fried cubed salt pork, salted water, potatoes, diced onions, quahog clams, butter, salt, and pepper. This variety was more common in the early and mid-20th century, and likely shares most recent common ancestry with New England clam chowder.

Hatteras Clam Chowder is served throughout North Carolina‘s Outer Banks region, this variation of clam chowder has clear broth, bacon, potatoes, onions, and flour as a thickening agent. It is usually seasoned with copious amounts of white and/or black pepper, and occasionally with chopped green onions or even hot pepper sauce.

Minorcan clam chowder is a spicy traditional version found in Florida restaurants near St. Augustine and the northeast corner of Florida. It has a tomato broth base, with datil pepper, an extremely hot chili comparable to the habanero.

The datil is believed to have been brought to St. Augustine by Menorcan settlers in the 18th century, and tradition holds among their descendants that it will only thrive and grow in two places: Menorca, Spain, and St. Augustine, Florida.

Sounds delicious.

We can smell the aroma of our chowder warming up in the kitchen.

Now all you need is your wine of choice and you are all set for a relaxing day. We wanted to say weekend but given these pandemic times, even a weekday can feel like a weekend.

That’s our version and there are millions of other noteworthy versions out there as well.

Now let’s make sure we understand something.

They don’t sell wine at the 99 Cent Store. You knew that, right?

Our $7 budget was for a package of mushrooms, a can of soup, onions, bread and butter,

What a bargain.

Well, it looks like we’re going to be home for some time.

Good thing.

We can smell the Clam Chowder simmering in the kitchen.

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