Living with food allergies: Chowder

Chowdah! It's what's for dinner!Uncle Joe one time gave me this great recipe for chowder; I used to make it about every ten days during cold weather. Alas, then my allergies kicked in, and now I can no longer eat that recipe because of my fish allergies. That also means no lobster bisque (if you’re new to the blog, I’m allergic to fish, but not shellfish; however, bisques are usually made with either a fish or chicken stock — I’m also allergic to chicken).

So here’s how I make this chowder. Fair warning to those who are on any sort of diet – this chowder is only fish- and chicken-free; it’s high on everything else! Make your own adjustments if you are on any sort of low salt/low fat/low calorie/low taste diet. For me, it’s hard enough to plan a meal avoiding the foods that make my throat swell shut – so screw diets.

One stick of butter
Four cans of Cream of Potato Soup (I used to just use two cans, but over the years it seems that those cans are getting smaller. Am I on crack?)
A pint of half & half
A quart of whole milk
Two cans of corn
A pound of bacon
A box of mushrooms (I am lazy and get the pre-cut kind, but feel free to cut your own!)
Spices to taste (I usually toss in a pinch of salt, and a pinch of Old Bay seasoning — because you can take the girl out of Baltimore, but…)

I’ve learned to begin by frying up the bacon. I used to leave this step until last, and DERP. Bacon always takes longer to cook than I think.

While the bacon is cooling, in the same pan, I lightly stir-fry the mushrooms.

At the same time, with the largest pot in the kitchen, I melt the stick of butter (with the stove burner on about “6”, which I keep it on for the duration of the cooking). After it is melted, I add in the four cans of Cream of Potato soup, stirring as I go.

As the potato soup heats, I add in the corn, the mushrooms, and the bacon, stirring all the time. When it is all hot, I add the half & half (still stirring) and then the milk (still! stirring!).

Then I pretty much just leave it sit there for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

When it’s all hot? DIG IN.

So far I have not had an allergic reaction to this chowder, which is good because both the Old Bay and the Cream of Potato Soup contain “natural flavorings”. Natural Flavorings, as defined by the FDA (bold added by me), are…

(a)(1) The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Artificial flavor includes the substances listed in 172.515(b) and 582.60 of this chapter except where these are derived from natural sources.

Companies are not required to list what’s in a “natural flavor” although I believe with the rise in food allergies that most places will tell you what’s in them if you call the 1-800 number on the label. But really? Who’s going to take the time to do that? I guess it’s easier now, with cell phones, because you can call from the store as you’re standing in the aisle; but I just invision buying a bunch of food, taking it home, making all these phone calls, and then being all, “Hey, Tim, there’s a lot of food for you! Imma be in the back yard, eating grass!”.

PS. I made the mushroom chowder mug, and it will be available in the shop in 2013. Er, THAT SPECIFIC ONE won’t be available, I done ate out of it. But others like it. Ahem.


    • Hahahah! I thought about that later this afternoon — I forgot to mention that it makes about 10-12 servings. Depending on whether you can stop yourself from just pouring it directly down your throat. 😉

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