Illegal tomatoes in Clam Chowder in this New England town

First, EWWWW if you put tomatoes in New England clam chowder. I apologize for my brief outburst, as that is my opinion. Save that for your Manhattan style.

I will say that the fact that it’s illegal to put tomatoes in New England clam chowder seems a little dramatic, but I’m all for that funny Commonwealth of Massachusetts law staying in books. It doesn’t hurt anyone. I mean, Maine even tried the same thing in 1939.

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According to JB News and Viewsa century after the appearance of New England Clam Chowder, the Maine state legislature attempted to “sanctify the purity of the recipe and make it literally illegal to put tomatoes in chowder”.

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According to the New England Historical Society, “a tomato-hating Rockland politician” drafted a bill that would criminalize tomatoes in New England clam chowder and the punishment would be digging up clams at high tide, which which I suppose is impossible.

Apparently, where Maine failed, Massachusetts succeeded, because of course the law was passed in 1939 and is still in effect, according to WCVB.

clam chowder


According to Eater, New England clam chowder arrived via French, Nova Scotian or British settlers and was first put on the menu in 1936 in Boston in Ye Olde Union Oyster House, which is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country.

manhattan clam chowder, american cuisine


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

Although the New England Clam Chowder can be made “Manhattan style” with tomatoes or a tomato base, or in a clear broth served in some parts of Rhode Island, for chowder traditionalists like me – the New England Clam Chowder doesn’t live up to the title unless it’s presented in a thick, milky base full of tender, freshly shelled clams accented by cooked potatoes cut in various sizes and seasoned to perfection with chopped onions. and ground pepper. Add some chowder crackers and it’s the unmistakable flavor of New England.

Do you like the Manhattan style, or do you want to keep the tomatoes out of the clam chowder, law or not?

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