Food for Drunks: Clam chowder


Once upon a teenage year, I lived and schooled in New York City. I had a bad attitude with musical taste to match, and could cook nothing well except bagels and cream cheese, and the occasionally inspired Top Ramen with egg. One spring weekend I hosted an out of town Enthusiast. The first stop on the BlackOut Express was supposed to be a goth club, so we ripped holes in black stockings and smeared the crap out of our eyeliner. I don’t know why, but we never ended up at any clubs that night, let alone goth ones. This was awesome because it meant we stumbled to various, snobby college parties dressed like complete tools for no justified reason. The night ended as all successful weekend-visitor kick-off binges do, with sunrise-purchased 40s cracked open on a curb near my apartment. As we swigged, a waterfront fun run sweat past in the rising dawn, and I think we might have cheered a little, our angsty makeup and bottle-shaped brown bags betraying the illusion we were early-rising race fans.

By the time the last sweet drops of Steel had slithered down our throats, the drunk munchies were set officially in, and it was time to head home to make breakfast:

Cold clam chowder. I remember opening the can and pouring it into a pot on the stove. But we never managed to light the burner. Who says canned chowder needs to be heated, anyways? Your parents, man? Society, man? The Man, man? We each had a spoon, and perched together on the kitchen windowsill, scooping firm, gray chunks of bivalve and lumps of starchy white potato into our mouths. No one else was awake in the apartment. We listened to the low rumble of traffic, and the faint cheering from the fun run, through shut glass. The light was pure and early and the kitchen bathed in cold gray as we devoured the cold, gray soup.

…And then the clams arose from the dead, and we partied some more.

Steel Reserve photo courtesy of C o l i n, flickr.