chowder, stew of fish or shellfish with potatoes, onions, and pork (usually salt pork), thickened with crumbled hard bread. The name chowder seems to have originated from the French word chaudière (a large heavy pot used by fishermen to cook soups and stews). The name probably was carried to the French Canadian coasts and traveled from there to New England (noted for its clam chowder) and then south. Each locality on the eastern coast of the United States has its favorite recipe, based on the kinds of fish and vegetables available. The name is extended to include a mixture of vegetables only.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.