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Snows clam chowder tragedy

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I've seen some other postings regarding Snows clam chowder and just wanted to add my two cents.I too have been using this product for at least forty years.My father would make it on those especially cold San Francisco nights.It was just the right taste and consistency of a great chowder.Not soup,CHOWDER.Well Snows,or more recently Bumble Bee has changed the recipe so much that only the label seems similar.The original recipe had a color more similar to creamy tan color with a slight yellowish tint.When it finally plopped into the can it held it's form for the most part.The potatoes were bitesized and you could actually make out the clam forms.The flavor was that of a true seafood dish.I would doctor it up with some sage,fresh garlic,and some chopped shrimp.A bit of fresh ground pepper and you would be set for the evening.

Well the new crappola that is on the shelfs now is just plain awful.I can remember the first day i first opened the new "stuff".I remarked to my wife that we must have accidently boght the ready to serve by mistake.But after checking the can,we saw we had the correct product.It was just not the same.It is pasty white with no noticible outline of what we call food.Even after i doctored it up,it was still just awful.Most foods that are marginal can be made to be at least palatable.But not this slop.It's really a shame.Something that has been around for that long is a proven winner.They took a winner and made it a loser.How did they think thay could fool us.After forty years,we wouldn't notice a change?How stupid can you be?Since Bumble Bee bought the brand I bet they are trying to get more profit by making it more cheaply to pay for the aquisition costs.I will not purchase this product again.That really dissapointed our extended family.They always requested it for the holidays.

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  1. Yes, I bought a can last month and was quite appalled by the changes. Used to be a staple item in the pantry for lazy days. No longer.

    I hope you'll forward your complaint to the company as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Yes,I did complain.Thier website says they answer all inquiries,but another Chowhounder said they simply mailed him four one-can certificates! If they do that,I wil send them back.I'll post thier response.Take care.

    2. Almost all of these canned 'Clam Chowders' are really just potato chowders with clam seasoning. And this unfortunate trend is spreading to restaurants too in our age of cost-cutting frenzy.

      1. Unfortunately, I'm finding this is happening to a lot of products that were originally really good; i.e., I bought a box of Nabisco graham crackers this week which tasted like dust, not the product I remember from years ago. I won't be buying any Snow's clam chowder any time soon. Thanks for the tip.

        1. that is so sad to hear. Snow's condensed clam chowder is the base I use for the best seafood chowder ever! I have a few cans in my cabinet (of the old stuff I guess), I hope it isn't horrible when I have to buy new ones!!!!!

          :( Sad Sad Sad

          1. Oh...I don't know...I used to really love Snow's Clam Chowder too, but to me it seems that it started to decline in quality at least 20 years ago.

            It morphed somewhere along the line into a too thick, starchy, gloppy mess. I haven't bought Snow's in a good while, but it sure sounds like it's even worse now that Bumble Bee (makers of the worst canned tuna in the universe) got a hold of it.

            Fortunately, making decent chowder from scratch takes very little effort.

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Professor

              I agree, it has been a long decline. And clam chowder is so easy.
              unfortunate, but surely not a tragedy.

              1. re: The Professor

                Ms. OC agrees with you Professor, that Bumble Bee sells the worst tuna fish in the universe.

                1. re: The Professor

                  I'll agree with the Bumble Bee part. I couldn't believe it when I opened a can, (after a household member bought it by mistake). It was like paste. The flavor was like eating old, old fish. I haven't bought it in years. As for the Snow's Chowder, my Mother used it for a base for her fish chowder, especially during lent. It was the best. I'm glad I learned how to make a good seafood stock.

                2. Well thats a relief, glad to hear that nobody died in a clam chowder canning accident!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: joe777cool

                    Well not YET!

                  2. That's sad. Why do companies do this? Yes, they save money, but then people stop buying. Is there a way to know if you have the old recipe or the new since the can looks the same?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rworange

                      If the can says Bumble Bee,it's the new recipe.The stores were out of stock for about a month.Enough time to sell off the old product and replace it with the rebranded reformulated one.

                    2. Some cans of clams are called "chopped" and some are "minced". Could that account for the difference? I have continued to use the clams (via recipe on can that I have followed for fifty years) but adding more onion, more potato, more milk, and then fresh scallops and shrimp and a can or two of oysters. It ain't Cape Cod but it's good.

                      1. Been a convert for years. Neptune CHOPPED clams is the way to go ... then, take it from there.

                         
                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                          Canned whole Baby Clams are also very good in home made chowder.

                        2. I just had a can of Snow's today. It was terrible hardley any clams and none of the rich taste I remember. What a shame. Last time I had it it was under the Doxee label.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ChrisOC

                            Doxee went out of business a year or so ago, another tragedy.

                          2. I kept meaning to post about this as well. I grew up on Snow's clam chowder... but since bumblebee bought them out it are a pale flavourless watery shell of what it used to be. I've always doctored it with another can of chopped Snow clams, but now even that is barely enough. I am thoroughly disappointed.

                            1. Couldn't agree with you more. I now buy Bookbinder's. It reminds me of the way Snow's used to be. I don't follow directions on can which say add 1/2 can of milk and I add a whole can of some kind of cream (if you want chowder, you don't use skim milk). Clams are clearly discernible.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: gsElsbeth

                                Thank you for the tip.I'm in California,I'll see if I can find it locally.

                                1. re: 1chowhound

                                  Chances are slim. Bookbinders was a famous Philadelphia restaurant for the last half of the last century (maybe longer, but my memories aren't). I'd be happy to send you a couple of cans if you can't find it. Though how we negotiate that exchange of address might be problematic.

                                  1. re: gsElsbeth

                                    Thank you so much for such a generous offer,but I actually found a national distributor for this brand.There are several "boutique" markets that carry it.However,if my search is not fruitful,we may be doing business :)

                                    1. re: 1chowhound

                                      Neat. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

                              2. thanks everyone for the heads up on this

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: laliz

                                  We all have to keep calling Bumble Bee and complaining. Thats the only way they might go back to the old way.

                                  1. re: Pamhillman

                                    Yeah, right. That'll work. ;)

                                    1. re: Pamhillman

                                      I probably will take the unopened can back to the store I bought it from a few days ago and tell the manager how bad it is.

                                  2. I had not purchased a can of Snow's in 20 years. I had found a local brand that I liked better. I just purchased three cans of Snow's and I was shocked at how different it was both in taste, texture and quality of the solid ingredients. It's now a non-premium product.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: tomhensr

                                      I don't think I ever considered it a _premium_ product but it was definitely once one of the better canned chowders.
                                      But I gave up on it when many years ago they changed the formula, turning it into a starchy concoction that literally plopped out of the can in one solid piece.
                                      That was the first bad sign.
                                      Then, when prepared according to directions, it was stlll so thick (probably from the addition of lots flour or cornstarch) that you could practically stand a spoon up in it. And that just ain't proper chowder.
                                      I've been wanting to try it again but it really just sounds like it has gotten so bad, I probably won't bother.

                                      1. re: The Professor

                                        I always like to keep a few cans of chowder on hand for wintry days when one of us might be under the weather.

                                        Regardless of brand, at the same time I also keep an equal amount of cans of chopped clams which I add - with their clam juice - to the canned chowder. If the chowder is still too thick for my taste, I'll thin it with a little half-&-half or cream. So long as whatever chowder brand I have on hand isn't overly salty, I find this method works quite well for an impromptu soup meal. Obviously it'll never be as good as what I'd make from scratch, but for a quicky, it pretty much hits the spot.

                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                          That works well. My formula is one can Campbell's Cream of Potato condensed soup to one 7 oz. (4.5 oz. clams) can of Buoy's Best minced razor clams. Use all the liquor from the clams and some half & half to desired consistency.

                                    2. Not all old brands which have been bought out suffer quality problems. Underwood Deviled Ham and other flavors and Sell's Liver Pate are both sold now by B and G Foods. They taste just as they have for the past 60 years.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: thomarjo

                                        It probably depends on whether the purchasing company kept the purchased company functioning the way it was, or if they cut corners &/or changed recipes to increase profits.

                                      2. I thought maybe it wasn't that bad. It is! It tasted so wrong I was afraid the can was tainted and poured it down the drain.
                                        I guess I'll have to make my own and freeze it. Washed out containers from pickles, yogurt, sour cream...etc.come in handy for that. I have 2 shelves dedicated to reusable jars n such. If I think of it, I'll pull something out early in the day. If not, 20 min in a hot bowl of water loosens it up enough to transfer to the stove or a nuker safe bowl. It's not as quick but it's still under an hour.

                                         
                                        1. just saw in my supermarket a Legal Seafoods brand of ready to serve seafood soups including chowder and lobster bisque. havent tried yet

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: MarkG

                                            I tried the New England Clam Chowder, & while it was good, it was a bit on the pricey side, especially if you planned on serving it as a meal in itself instead of just a starter.

                                          2. I'm looking for Snows Clam Chowder here in TN but can't find it. But after reading some threads here I guess it's just as well.

                                            Having been raised in Mass. New England seafood is religious...

                                            I've used other brands in place of Snows since it's not available...

                                            I make about 12 quarts of chowder eat it from several meals and then freeze the rest for later..

                                            The trick I use is use half and half and then "super charge it" with LOTS of extra clams, potatoes (both diced and sliced) fresh oinions suateed in butter, and add 3 sticks of real butter + the onions
                                            then season it with some salt and pepper...slow cook it for a couple of hours then let it sit over nite other than trying a bowl to make sure it's "right"...Generally it comes out pretty good...
                                            But Snows was my "base" for many years when I lived in Florida where I could get it...but everything else added made it much better.

                                            Oh well, guess nothing stays the same forever...."sniff sniff"....Next I guess will be artifical lobster in a shell and Haddock....

                                            Can't find the good old Italian Subs from sub shops like I use to get as a kid in the Boston area way back when either....

                                            ...and I won't even get into good pizza like in the Boston's Italian North End either....

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: scullen111

                                              They still have decent Italian "subs" (heroes to me) here in NY. I'm sure Tennesee has their culinary specialities though!

                                              1. re: coll

                                                Fried Chicken & Mac & Cheese and Domino Pizza.....and "seafood" is catfish....

                                                1. re: scullen111

                                                  Except for the Dominos, my husband would be in heaven!

                                            2. I have not had, nor found snow's in years and this post brings tears to my eyes as I used to like it, sort of.

                                              Nowadays, if I am in a hurry and don't make my own from scratch, I usally take one of those canned chowders (either the red/white or Progresso versions), but before they touch the pot, I do the following:

                                              Sautee 2 pcs of cut up bacon (usually my own home-cured), add 2 TBS of finely chopped onion, and quickly sautee a can of CHOPPED (not minced) Clams before adding the packaged stuff. Sometimes I save some of the clam juice to reconstitute some Penzeys Minced Garlic that I like to add, otherwise I drain away the can. A pat of butter in the bowl and a shake of good paprika and it's a satisfying and tasty soup if not totally authentic nor as good as the cans of old.

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                Usually when I do the chowder (pronounced "chowda" in my fine Boston accent...) I cook up a large pot of it 12 quarts I think or of late I've been doing 16 quarts because I've got several others that insist when I do make it I make extra for them, because it's not something I make all the time.

                                                Usually I'll also freeze enough up in maybe 4-8 additional servings and seal it in freezer bags for later usuage.

                                                But I've gone to that brand also in a red and white can as a base...use the half and half and add maybe 4-6 cans of clams + potatoes and cut up a couple of onions sautee them in butter...and spice to taste...and try to let it set up over nite for the flavor to set in...and so far it been pretty well accepted by those who have tried it.

                                                Now my Vet went to Boston recently and was telling my wife about how she liked the Clam Chowder up there...and my wife perked up and said "he (me) makes the best clam chowder...so now I've got to make some not only for the Vet, bu also for the office staff....So Sunday will be Clam Chowder day!!!!

                                                1. re: scullen111

                                                  Make up some steamed brown bread to go along with it and really wow them with New England cuisine.

                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                    Just as long as this doesn't progress to adding some baked stuffed lobster with crab meat....

                                                    1. re: scullen111

                                                      Heaven forbid! Baked stuffed lobster must be an NYC thing that has migrated out! What a way to ruin a good lobster!.......and then to add Crabmeat?.........sheesh! That is so.............Maryland! ( all this said tongue in cheek)

                                                      However.........a bit of apple crisp for dessert might also be in order. Forget doing any sides like succotash. And if they really need an appetizer, stuffed quahogs would be too much with the "Chowdah"...but damned good!....stick to good ole Puritanical stuff like Crackers with an excellent Vermont Cheese.......pushed,,,.add a dollop of chutney and a few bits of cooked bacon to each one.

                                                      And for after dinner mints................NECCO wafers!!!....you can find them online still I think!

                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                        New YorK???? Never!!!!! Born and raised in the Boston "burbs"...

                                                        Raised Irish Catholic, root for the Red Soxs and hate the Yankees....and not neccessarily in that order....

                                                        Had some good baked stuff lobsters over the years, but boiled with butter was always the best...

                                                        Ah, this is going to be done up for my Vet and some in the office and this morning my wife advised me that my neighbor wants some now because "mouth" told her that I was cooking up a batch this weekend....so looks like tw pots are going to be made....about 20 quarts of chowda or as you say chowdah...and yes I do pak my ca in havad yad!!!!!

                                                  2. re: scullen111

                                                    Given what vets charge these days, it sounds like a good investment to me.

                                                    1. re: sr44

                                                      ..."Given what vets charge these days, it sounds like a good investment to me..."

                                                      Not to mention we have 13 dogs...so yeah a VERY good investment!!!!!!!.

                                                  3. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                    @ FriedClamFanatic (the reply function doesn't seem to put the replies in the right place):

                                                    Sounds like a good remedy...the only thing i might do different is use a can of whole baby clams instead of the chopped.

                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                      I would agree about the whole clams.....if I could get smaller cans locally. My cans are the same size as soup cans, so I've always felt that would be over kill.....of course, I suppose if I opned them, I'd find they are 70% liquid. HM.now that I recall, I have a can of whole clams out there that was gonna be used for a clam sauce.....but it is getting close to lunchtime here and a cuppa chowdah and a grilled cheese on home-made sourdough might be just the thing to bring a smile to this Ole Cape Codder

                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                        TO Fried Clam Fanatic....

                                                        At 12:30AM this morning I read you post....and that caused me to get up and check your suggestion about "whole clams" and I looked into my "stash" and found that I have 4 cans of "whole clams" & 4 cans of minced clams ready to place into my "concocktion"....

                                                        Now keep in mind.....when I cook my chowder up I do either 12 quarts or in this case probably will be doing two pots....so that will be about 20 quarts of chowder....and that will be for our use, neightbors and the Vet's Office.....

                                                        Both my wife and I have restaurant expereince in cooking...I in New Hamphire as a young lad at Hampton Beach and she in Florida and Tennessee....

                                                        So we'll get this all done over the weekend....

                                                        Again, when I do the clam chowder I "super charge" to make it thick and full of ingrediants and not "soupy".....with a hint of clams, potatoes, onions ect....and it is very creamy and buttery as well.....

                                                        Thank you all for your replies and comments to my post.....

                                                        Later

                                                        1. re: scullen111

                                                          LOL..that's the problem with these late night readings! Especially don't try it after a few too many glasses of wine!

                                                          Now.remember.we were talking about "doctoring" store bought canned stuff, not from scratch. but yes, they will work in your lovely "concoction" as well.

                                                          Go to it.go forth.......Clam them and Wow them
                                                          My Guess is that your home brew will be so far superior to anything they have ever tasted that even if to you it is not 100% perfect....to them it will be 450% ( The bulgarian judge waffled from giving you the full 500%.............but he was bribed by an oyster stew lover)

                                                          1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                            ROTFLMAO...

                                                            ..."Now.remember.we were talking about "doctoring" store bought canned stuff, not from scratch. but yes, they will work in your lovely "concoction" as well."...

                                                            "Doctoring"??? PLease, I do not have a M.D. after my name??? as in M=Meat D=Dealer....!!!

                                                            So "doctoring" isn't neccessarily the factor here as muchas it's working with what limited resources available in these neck of the woods verses being in New England...

                                                            So I'm trying to find what I can and turn it into a a symphony of collectable delights enhancing the basic elements of other wise OK store brand items with a variety of inputs that will bring it up to a level "fit for the King of England"....

                                                            Seriously, I've got some neighbors from up north who have had it and they've said it's better than what they've had back in the northeast....so I'm reasonably sure it will turn out OK...

                                                            Finished picking up the ingrediants today and will cook it up tomorrow and let it set up overnite....and see what happens.

                                                            But thanks for all the good nature posts on this thread....

                                                  4. Althought I live in Boston and have access to Legal Sea Food's award winning clam chowder, I've been craving the Snow's one that you can make at home. Well, after having a baby a few months ago, I finally got around to picking up some cans from Stop and Shop. For some reason, they don't sell them at the Market Basket stores.

                                                    As I was preparing the chowder, I definitely noticed the cheapened quality of the chowder, especially fewer clams and potatoes. I totally forgot about how it plops out in the shape of the can! Thanks to the other commentors for reminding me! So, I doctored it up with some can corn - Costco's Kirkland brand is amazingly sweet and tasty. I put enough corn in it to make it look more like a full soup, probably half the can of corn. Also, because I was using 2% milk, I put in about 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream which I happened to have in the fridge. Upon eating, I put in crushed saltines and some black pepper.

                                                    It was delicious with the add-ins. It is kind of sad when big companies buy little ones and change the recipes. If my family had owned Snow's, I'd be appalled by the changes. I would still buy it but will now have to add corn every time to make it more of a meal again.

                                                    1. I can't agree more. I've loved Snow's Clam Chowder since I was a young girl. Haven't had it in a while and recently I was craving it so I bought and it. BIG MISTAKE!!! It was the nastiest concoction. I immediately notice the cheap ingredients but when I tasted it.......awww!!! It was absolutely flavorless. I can't believe they would change something that's worked for as long as I remember and obvisiously longer. I almost positive the can said "New Look; Same great tast" Flat out LIE!!! If Bumble Bee bought out Snow's they must have bought the recipes....???? right? Big mistake and now completely ruined product!!!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: cyns36

                                                        Sardine products falling into the Bumbl-ing family abyss have similarly gone to hell.

                                                      2. I agree with the above. Been serving Snows clam chowder for 40 years. I couldn't find it for a while and just this week saw it back on the shelves. I do "doctor" it up with more clams, clam juice etc., but it's just not the same. What happened? I am so disappointed. My family always thought I made it from scratch!!! Now they won't recognize it.

                                                        1. Clam flavored soup! Not chowder!

                                                          1. I just did a batch of chowder...or "chowda" in my proper Bostonian accent....

                                                            and with everything I added I did about 22 quarts to freeze up and it ran somewhere about $70 for everything....

                                                            keep in mind I'm living in an area where they think Catfish is "seafood"....so finding all the necessary ingredients can be challenging to say the least....

                                                            That said....

                                                            Go Red Sox's!!!!!!!

                                                            1. Yes, had some last night, got into an argument with the wife and told her it wasn't Snow's...she found this site. Wow, talk about screwing up a good thing! Time to find a new clam chowder, does anyone have any ideas? Bumble-Bee huh. I can see what happeneed with this cheapo shit company...
                                                              The taste is far worse than Progresso Clam Chowder! Not to mention, there were perhaps 3 pieces of potatoe, no clams (probly dragged a clam throught the broth).and a general wallpaper paste appearance!

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Victor62

                                                                I recently tried the Boudin brand of clam chowder.Boudin is the famous San Francisco sourdough bread baker.This is the chowder they put in their bread bowls.I was pleasantly surprised.I had it a their San Diego location.A little butter,fresh cracked black pepper and an extra can of clams and It would have been near the old Snows.At $6.00 a can though,it will be for only the coldest of nights.Let me know what you think.

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: 1chowhound

                                                                  anyone know availability in PA?

                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                    If you mean Boudin,no.They are on the west coast only,however they do offer on line purchases.

                                                                    1. re: 1chowhound

                                                                      saw something about Costco offering Boudin...If I dare brave this weeks crowds, I may go see

                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                        I'm not that brave.I'll try after the holidays.Thanks for the tip.

                                                                2. re: Victor62

                                                                  See my suggestion upthread. I use Campbell's condensed cream of potato soup, canned clams (with liquor), and half-and-half. I generally use the 14 3/4 oz size of soup to one 7 oz can of Buoy's Best minced razor clams.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    Hilarious, Victor. I'm a huge fan of Bell Buoy Seafood and was just looking at their minced razors today, thinking I'd buy some of the razor clam chowder base and kick it up with the minced razors. I'm partial to chopped, but these are razors. I recently took leftover mashed potatoes, added chopped onion, dried chive, milk and a couple of fresh chopped razors and a couple of cans of chopped Snow's and it was a superb chowder where the clams starred. The way it should be. I grew up in a Catholic family in Seattle so our Friday Chowder couldn't have bacon. I like it much better without the bacon, though I can make a mean Bacon Chowder.

                                                                3. Anyone tried the Bar Harbor brand clam chowder? I've seen it here in Vermont, but haven't tried it as it's a bit pricey.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                    Yes,tried it a few weeks ago.I liked it,my wife did not.I liked the Boudin better.They all seem to be pricey.

                                                                  2. Make sure you are buying the ready to serve version, not the condensed. The condensed is not very good but the ready to serve is pretty good stuff. Just add a can of chopped, not minced, Snow's clams, a little dried chive and serve.

                                                                    1. All these posts about adding clams or corn etc to Snow's Clam Chowder make me want to cry. The stuff just doesn't taste good any more, and adding more ingredients won't change that. This is a real tragedy, and nothing less than the sudden resuscitation of the original Snow's is going to make it all right again --- and I can't see that happening.
                                                                      And by the way, the person who said that if you buy the Ready-to-serve version it tastes fine must never have had the original.
                                                                      It's all swill.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ascotti

                                                                        Actually I think it's all a matter of expectation, number one, and false memories, number two. We're all prone to recalling things at a different stage of our lives, our taste buds aging, etc. But I allow that Snow's may have changed the recipe to lower cost. Common food industry flub. I don't think the ready-to-serve Snow's is a world class chowder. I grew up in Seattle, spent a few years on the coast and have eaten chowder coast to coast. It's all subjective, really, but I can tell you nothing compares with good, homemade chowder made with real clams. I prefer razors but then that's what we had when I was a kid oftentimes. But don't disparage adding a can of Snow's chopped clams and chopped fresh or dried chive to a can of ready-to-serve Snow's. With a kiss of salt free butter it's a decent alternative to homemade that's ready in minutes. But here's better, almost as easy alternative. Next time you make mashed potatoes make extra and then fill zip lock sandwich bags with them and freeze. To make a creamy, comfort food chowder add a sack of the potatoes to a little milk and cover and thaw, then add a can of chopped clams and some chopped parlsley, green onion or chive. Excellent! But I agree, anything from a can's not going to be as good as fresh though Brunswick Kippered Snacks are pretty damn good out of the can.