In places like New England, "chowder" means a thick soup, usually made with fish, clams or corn. But here in Southeastern Illinois it means a lot more.
Around here, "chowder" refers not only to the actual chowder that is eaten, but also to each community's social gathering at which it is made and served.
Each uses its own sometimes-secret recipe, but all start with three basic ingredients: salt pork, onions and cubed potatoes. It is usually cooked outside in 20- to 70-gallon cauldrons where the various ingredients are added to boiling water according to how long each takes to cook, so that all of the ingredients are done at the same time -- usually in about 4 hours.
The kettles are stirred almost continuously while cooking so that the chowder does not scorch. The stirring is done with an 18- to 24-inch wooden "paddle" that has several holes bored in it and is attached a handle at a right angle near the end of it.
Communities take great pride in their chowders. In fact, in 1958, Edwards County Commissioners proclaimed Edwards County as "Chowder Capital of the World".
Traditionally, "chowder time" begins when tomatoes start to ripen and ends with the first heavy frost in the fall. If you get the opportunity, go to as many as you can and enjoy all Southeastern Illinois has to Offer.
Claremont Spring Carry-out Chowder
145 West lincoln Ave at Community Center, Claremont
Hours: Begins at 11:00 AM until sold out.
March 19th 2011
(Always the 3rd Saturday in March) Sponsored by the Claremont Community Club. Carry out only. Begins at 11:00 AM until sold out. Bring your own containers. (no glass). Homemade pies available too.
Denison Township Chowder
Main Street, Saint Francisville
September 5th, 2011
Annual “Denison Township Chowder” is always on Labor Day at the Firehouse in St. Francisville, carry out will begin at 11:00 a.m. Registration for the Horseshoe Tournament and Poker Run will be at 10:00 AM. For more information contact Fire Chief Stanley Kelsey at 618-263-7900
Lancaster Annual Chowder
September 24th, 2011
Lancaster Annual Chowder is now held on the forth Saturday in September in Lancaster Community Club Park. Carry out only will be available at 11:00 AM. Serving sandwiches and chowder beginning at 4:00 PM. Entertainment at 5:00 PM. For additional details call Sara Root at: 618-299-2601.
Fall Chowder in Dundas
September 10th 2011
(Always the second Saturday in September) Available at 11:00 a.m. Bulk Only - No Glass Containers. Don't be late! Our chowder goes quick. Sponsored by the Dundas Ruritan. For more information contact: Gerald Ochs, 618-395-2208
West Salem Chowder
Town Square, West Salem
August 20, 2011
3rd Saturday in August
Jasper County Home-Front Chowder
707 S. Van Buren, Newton
October 15th, 2011
The Jasper County Home-Front Chowder is an annual event. Carry out only - bring your own containers with lids - no glass. Homemade pies and desserts will also be available. Proceeds go towards sending care packages to our Jasper County Troops. Additional donations will be accepted. For more information call; Janet Vahling 618-783-8469, Susan Mayer 618-783-3941, Debbie Weiler 618-754-3519 or Kathy Patterson 618-783-4531.
Spring Chowder in Dundas
April 9th 2011
Spring Chowder - (Every year on the second Saturday in April - unless the event conflicts with Easter) beginning at 11:00 a.m. - Carry Out Plus Pies. Bulk Only - No Glass Containers. Sponsored by the Dundas Ruritan. For more information contact: Gerald Ochs 618-395-2208 or Carol Kilgore 618-754-3457.
City Park, Albion
June 11th 2011
July 23th, 2011
For more info call 618-442-5219
Noble Chowder & Homecoming
Village Hall, Noble
August 13th, 2011
Noble Chowder and Homecoming. For more info call 618-723-2212
Bone Gap Chowder
August 13th, 2011
Second Sat in August.
Claremont Summer Chowder
145 West Lincoln Ave. Claremont Community Center, Claremont
Hours: Starts at 4:00 PM
August 27th, 2011
Everyone is welcome to the Claremont Summer Chowder. Eat in or carry out. Sandwiches, deserts and drinks and of course chowder! Starts at 4:00 PM - until we run out. For more info call 618/869-2281.
38 33' 14.20" N 87 46' 28.84" W, Orio
September 3rd 2011
September 3rd 2011 will be the 91st annual chowder. Set in a beautiful grove of trees close to the church (Linn, IL) on the map. Carry-out starts around 8:00am and serving starts at 11:00 am. In addition to their famous chowder, fish sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and a variety of homemade pies are served. Pitch washers and horseshoes and play volleyball and softball and kids can play on the playground equipment. 618/299-6731.
GPS to 38 33' 14.20" N 87 46' 28.84" W
Elm River Chowder
September 3rd, 2011
(Always the Saturday before Labor Day)
GPS 38 35' 58.9" N 87 55' 58.47" W, Berryville
September 3rd, 2011
Since 1946, always held the Saturday before Labor Day. For more information call 618-456-3156. GPS 38 35' 58.9" N 87 55' 58.47" W
Mt. Carmel K of C Chowder
212 W. 5th St., Mount Carmel
August 28th, 2011
104 West Main, Calhoun
September 5, 2011
Labor Day - September 5, 2011
They will be making 400 -500 gallons of chowder, so come and share in the celebration!
September 10th, 2011
(Always the second Saturday in September) 6 miles South of Noble, Illinois / Chowder, BBQ Ham, Fried Chicken, Pie, Cakes, Ice Tea, Soda & Ice Cream - Chowder Carry Out by the Gallon