The fish chowder was simmering.
The recipe was simplistic, and most ingredients were fresh, including cod we hauled from the Atlantic Ocean ourselves.
The broth turned out tasty, and the only thing left to add was the blend cream. Full fat blend cream! That could only make the chowder even more delish, right? (Please don’t tell my family doctor.)
But the required amount of blend cream only watered down the broth, and in my opinion, made it taste more like warm milk than seafood chowder.
Our guests each had two bowls, which is a good sign it wasn’t terrible, but I was still rotted with the outcome.
My wife, who said the chowder was fine, continuously tells me I put too much pressure on myself when I cook.
She might be right, but I’m really striving to be a better cook. I love it! In fact, if I weren’t a journalist, I’d be a chef.
I’m also trying to live up to my nickname — Mr. Kitchen. That’s what some have called me for years, although I believe there’s some healthy sarcasm there.
Anyway, there are few things as rewarding as watching other people enjoy a dish you spent time creating from fresh ingredients and a good recipe, with a cooking technique or secret.
When people take one sip or mouthful and lick their lips, I consider that a job well done.
When their reaction is “mmmm,” I give myself high-fives.
And when they empty the pot and leave no leftovers, I sit back and bask in full-bellied satisfaction.
These are the kinds of reactions I crave.
Now, let’s be honest here. I’m no super chef, a Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay, although I probably curse as much as he does when a dish goes south.
I have committed some culinary disasters, like leaving a bag of giblets in the carcass of an otherwise exceptional honey-peanut chicken dish or using whole wheat flour for dumplings and ending up with human-made rocks in the final soup, or having to order pizza for guests instead of serving them charcoal (meat under broil for too long).
And many of my kitchen creations — especially one stew where I forgot salt — have tasted awful.
Still, I try.
Lately — after an amazing bowl of seafood chowder at a restaurant during my summer vacation — I’ve been focused on perfecting that dish.
The attempt noted earlier didn’t go as planned and the recipe was, as they say on “Coronation Street,” dead simple — onions, celery, potatoes, fish, chicken broth, milk and blend cream.
So, I’m looking for new chowder recipes. There’s no trouble to find one on the internet, but I’d rather they came from Atlantic Canada’s kitchens.
Which is where you come in, because I’m willing to bet some of you have a super chowder recipe or know of someone who does.
I’d love for you to email the concoction to me, so I can try it and share with readers.
My email is below.
Chow(der) for now.
Steve Bartlett is an editor with SaltWire Network. He dives into the Deep End Mondays to escape grocery bills. Reach him via email at email@example.com.