Here’s Where it’s Illegal to Put Tomatoes in Clam Chowder
EWWW, I think it's gross to put tomatoes in New England clam chowder. I apologize for my brief outburst and judgment however, I know I'm not alone as we're engrossed in clam chowder season.
Please save that tomato thing for your Manhattan style.
I will say that the fact that it's illegal to put tomatoes in New England clam chowder seems a bit dramatic, but I'm all for keeping this funny, classic Commonwealth of Massachusetts law on the books. It's not hurting anyone.
I'd venture to say that even if it's not law, restaurants all over the country don't put tomatoes in New England clam chowder because it's downright criminal.
Oh, and did you know even Maine tried to make them illegal?
According to News and Views JB, a century after New England Clam Chowder was around, an attempt was made by the Maine state legislature to "sanctify the purity of the recipe and make it illegal to put tomatoes in the chowder."
According to the New England Historical Society, "a tomato-hating politician from Rockland, Maine" drafted a bill that would criminalize tomatoes in New England clam chowder, and the punishment would be digging up clams at high tide, which I guess is impossible.
Massachusetts succeeded where Maine failed because sure enough, the law was passed in 1939 and is still on the books, according to WCVB.
According to Eater, New England clam chowder arrived via the French, Nova Scotian, or British settlers. It was first put on the menu back in 1936 in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House, which is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the country.
Of course, we both know there is that dreadful tomato-based clam chowder known as Manhattan clam chowder. News and Views JB points out that tomatoes in clam chowder are a thing, even if New Englanders can claim the original, right?