You know those foods that you wind up craving at random hours of the day (or more frequently—night) that seem even more crave-worthy because they’re usually the type of food that you go out to eat for? There’s something about a stereotypical “restaurant food” that makes it seem so much more unattainable and coveted.
One of those foods? Definitely pho. On a cold, blustery day, I’ll eye the little Vietnamese restaurants down the street, fighting an inner battle between wanting to save money and wanting to devour an enormous bowl of rice noodles and beef broth.
Growing up, I never felt any inclination to try new foods. It was partly due to my assumption that my parents knew what good foods were out there and I could just trust that whatever they cooked was what food I should try, but it was also in part because I—like most children—was perfectly happy eating Chex Mix and Girl Scout cookies (not that there’s anything wrong with Girl Scout cookies. I could eat those Samoas for days).
Clam chowder was one of those things that I never really got the chance to taste—except for one day at school where they were serving it in the cafeteria. But I’m 99% sure that it was something from a can. Or several cans. Enough to feed the school, at any rate.
So I never really had a stellar experience with clam chowder—which is why I never bothered ordering it at restaurants or seeking it out wherever I was.
But the more I started cooking for myself, the more I was side-eyeing chowders. I just had to try making it.