A Meal in Paradise

Growing up my mom feeding a family with ten people in it meant a lot of soups for us. She would make huge batches of different soups and stews all the time because they were filling and would go a long ways. She was an excellent cook so they were pretty much all delicious. I did have a least favorite, and that would be the clam chowder. I really don't like the texture of most seafood, and definitely clams have that same texture that I don't care for much. But in my house, dinner was dinner and you didn't have any other option but to eat it so even though I didn't love it, I ate it quite regularly and eventually grew accustomed to really liking the stuff.

When I was ten, my mother got cancer and had to move halfway across the country leaving 6 children and her husband at home to receive treatment in Houston. (My mom is totally cured of her cancer now.) So my oldest sibling at home at the time, which was my sister who was a senior in high school, was amazing and took on a lot of the responsibilities my mom used to do around the house without a complaint. Anyway, during this time I remember eating a lot of clam chowder as well, but this time it was from the can. We ate a lot of those Progresso soups at this time and specifically, I think of the clam chowder. Whenever I eat this canned soup, it takes me right back to this hard time.

Two and a half years ago I went with my husband to tour the USC campus in Los Angeles to decide if we wanted to go to grad school there. I went with him to the campus and it was incredibly beautiful. We went in early March and yet the weather was a perfect 75 degrees, give or take, the whole trip and I thought, "I could get used to this!"

My husband surprised me by taking me to this perfect little private beach and restaurant in Malibu called Paradise Cove and it truly felt like paradise!

We got to eat out with our toes in the sand and I bet you can guess what I ordered. Yep, you got it! I ordered wonderful clam chowder in a bread bowl and it was perfect! It was here when we were talking on the beach after our meal that we actually decided to go to Iowa instead of living in paradise! Weird, eh?

But I really did feel at peace about the decision and I was so excited for our adventures and the unknown. Well, little did I know that here we are two and a half years later and my husband got a job in in LA so here we are and I absolutely love it! But I am so thankful for those years in Iowa and wouldn't trade them for anything.

So yes, clam chowder used to be the bane of my existence when I was a child, but it has certainly seen my through some life-changing moments and will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish I had my mom's clam chowder recipe to share with you, but she is the ultimate throw-stuff-in-a-pot kind of cook and when I asked her for the recipe she said she had never written it down and it had been too long since she had made it that she couldn't remember the recipe exactly. Bummer! So someday I will make her make it for my family and write it down so I can make it myself. :)


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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