Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Trader Joe’s. It’s where I do the bulk of my grocery shopping.

When it comes to New England clam chowder, you can’t top Legal Sea Foods (their secret: bacon!) or SF’s Swan Oyster Depot. But sometimes you have to stay home and eat the canned stuff. I had the clam chowder from Trader Joe’s (labeled “Pilgrim Joe’s”) for breakfast this morning (hey, it’s finals week) and got that feeling I get when I eat most Trader Joe’s soups: major disappointment.

I opened the can, and it smelled GREAT. I tried to pour it out, and nothing happened — it was so thick I had to dig it out with a spoon. I added a can of milk according to the directions, and Ms. Pinky came running into the kitchen. (Anything fishy, to her, is kitty crack.)

“This soup is made with clams which are processed within hours of being caught,” says the label, but “clams” should be in the singular. I think I tasted a total of about three little bits of clam. It’s probably not the worst chowder I’ve ever had, but it tasted pretty bland, even after adding copious amounts of pepper. It’s definitely not the yummy thick chunky stuff they serve over at Swan’s, but it was way better than the TJ’s French Onion soup that made me fart continuously for 24 hours afterwards. I am not looking forward to heating up the bag of Trader Joe’s cioppino that’s sitting in my freezer right now.

Pinky had a taste and quickly backed off because it was too hot; once it cooled down she was no longer interested. (Half an hour later, she threw up.)

So, my favorite white chowder-in-a-can is still Campbell’s Select. And I need to quit procrastinating and finish this damn paper so I can graduate.


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