According to the newenglandhistoricalsociety.com the battle of the chowders has been going on for quite some time now. It all started with a politician in Rockland who had a firey hatred in his heart for tomatoes. It's a long winded chowder filled tale but here is the basic gist of it.

  • He wanted to pass a bill making it a crime to "pollute" chowder with tomatoes. He never got to pass the bill and the issue was settled without government interference.
  • They had a chowder contest instead.
  • The New England Clam Chowder won triumphantly. "New England Clam Chowder Wins Over Tomato Type" read the Lewiston Sun Journal headline.
  • From then on New Englanders were REAL proud of their clam chowder and have been boasting passionately how it is far better than "the tomato type" ever since.

Here is Eleanor Early talking some serious smack about Manhattan Clam Chowder in her 1940 book "A New England Sampler":

There is a terrible pink mixture (with tomatoes in it and herbs) called Manhattan Clam Chowder, that is only a vegetable soup, and not to be confused with New England Clam Chowder, nor spoken of in the same breath. Tomatoes and clams have no more affinity than ice cream and horseradish.

Well there you have it, New Englad clam chowder is queen and Manhattan chowder is her ugly distantly related cousin. I didn't start the war! Blame it on our ancestors.

(Credit: Jim Carrey via YouTube)