This is the recipe that started it all – Aunt Betty’s Fish Chowder. Aunt Betty was the best, I don’t know where to begin to even describe her. Betty was my dad’s sister and was like his second mother. My dad was the baby and the only boy and she loved him fiercely. Betty never had children of her own, so she doted on him, even though he would never admit it. She also showered us with love and treated us like her own children as well. Her house in South Boston, Ma., by the beach, was a warm and welcoming place that we would gladly allow our parents to leave us there whenever they wanted. Sadly, Aunt Betty died when I was in college and never got to meet my children, she would have been so thrilled to see our children and to spoil them rotten.
I was cleaning out a drawer one day and found this recipe for a simple fish chowder in her hand writing and remembered it immediately. (As a bonus, it is a great recipe from a food allergy perspective. It is very easily adaptable). I was a very picky eater as a child, but I loved this chowder. I can still see her in the kitchen on Ticknor Street making it for us.
I made the chowder that night and had such a flood of memories that I sat at the kitchen table and cried. My only explanation for the tears is that making her recipe made me remember the love.
The next morning I told my father about the recipe and he said “I make that all the time, what’s the big deal?” My response was, “You have changed it over the years and made it your own, this is the original, just make it.”
He called me a few days later to thank me for the memory. He loved it. Food is love and food is memories, so that is why I have chosen to write this blog. My children have never met my husband’s late parents but maybe making the food they loved and passing on the recipes will help them get to know their loved ones a little better.
What is done in love, is done well. – Vincent Van Gogh
Easy Fish Chowder
- 1 medium Onion Diced
- 3 tbsp Butter Salted or unsalted
- 1 8 oz bottle Clam juice I use Snow's Bumblebee Brand
- 1 12 oz Evaporated Skim Milk Can
- 2 cups Potatoes Cubed
- 1 lb. Cod Any white fish (haddock or cod)
- 1 cup Water
- Brown onions in butter. After the onions have browned add the potatoes, clam juice Snow’s,Clam Juice All Natural, 8 oz and water. Lay fish on top, skin side up. Simmer, peel skin off fish (most times, I find there is no skin on the fish). Stir, breaking up fish a little. When the potatoes are tender, add the evaporated milk and simmer a few minutes. Add butter a few minutes before done.