Cheater’s Crab/Lobster/Shrimp Seafood Corn Chowder and some chowder/bisque food history…

this was a delicious concoction!

We weren’t feeling well today and I wanted soup, but I didn’t feel like spending all day making one. I made this up at the last minute and was pretty impressed. I am usually a convenience food snob- I don’t really like ‘quick’ meals or ‘ready made’ things, as a rule.

This soup has all SORTS of convenience foods I’d never usually eat: Canned and packaged soups, velveeta (which the guys keep in the cupboard for their favorite football season queso dip that I detest)… but it turned out so well, even I was shocked.

Everyone agreed that this was a keeper.

I am ADDICTED to chowders and bisques! The history of both types of soups is quite interesting. Chowder is an older soup, originating from the peasant fishermen in Europe.

From What’s Cooking America:

Chowder has its roots in the Latin word calderia, which originally meant a place for warming things, and later came to mean cooking pot. The word calderiaalso gave us cauldron, and in French became chaudiere. It is also thought to come from the old English word jowter (a fish peddler).

A simple dish of chowder, in the past considered to be “poor man’s food,” has a history that is centuries old. Vegetables or fish stewed in a cauldron thus became known as chowder in English-speaking nations, a corruption of the name of the pot or kettle in which they were cooked. Different kinds of fish stews exist in almost every sea-bound country in the world.

Fish chowders were the forerunners of clam chowder. The chowders originally made by the early settlers differed from other fish soups because they used salt pork and ship’s biscuits. Today most chowders do not include biscuits, but generally have crackers sprinkled on top. The old-fashioned chowder builder made chowder out of just about everything that flew, swam, or grew in the garden. When the main ingredient is fish or shellfish it is usually called chowder although the term fish stew is also used. Clams, hard or soft, were just one variety of seafood used and were eaten frequently, but there was a certain season for clam chowder and certainly there were other occasions when clam chowder was definitely not served.”

Bisque soups, on the other hand, didn’t seem to appear until sometime in the 17th century:

Bisque first surfaces in the 17th century. Culinary evidence confirms early bisque recipes did indeed include pulverized shells of the featured crustacean. Bisque descended from pottage, a thick soupy mixture often consistent with puree. Most early recipes call for “crayfish,” which denotes what we Americans currently know as “rock lobster.” Notes here.

“Bisque is a thick rich soup, usually containing crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and crayfish. The word was originally borrowed into English from French as bisk in the mid-seventeenth century, at which time it still retained an early application, since lost, to soup made from poultry or game birds, particularly pigeons’. It is not clear where the word came from, although some have linked it with the Spanish province of Biscay.”
—An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 29-30)

“Bisque. A rich soup of creamy consistency, especially of crayfish or lobster. An earlier use, for soups of game birds, has fallen into disusetude. Wine and/or cognac often enter into the recipes. When the word was first adopted from the French language, it came over as bisk’, and it thus appears in The Accomplisht Cook of Robert May (1685). His recipes, incidentally, illustrate the wider use of the term in his time. He gives two recipes for Bisk of Carp, both involving many ingredients and having plenty of solid matter in them. And his Bisk of Eggs sound even more surprising to modern ears.”
—Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidison [Oxford University Press:Oxfod] 1999 (p. 77)”

Both types of soups mean comfort food in my house. We love seafood chowders and bisques so much! Since I am half-Filipino, I prefer to eat them with rice.


  • 1 box Original Soupman Lobster Bisque
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup
  • 1 package fake crab flakes, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely in food processor
  • 1/2 package mushrooms, chopped finely in food processor
  • 1/3 package velveeta queso blanco
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced (optional)
  • handful spinach, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • stick butter
  • salt and pepper
  • squirt sriracha
  • 1 soup can heavy cream
  • 2 soup cans whole milk
  • 1 can white corn
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with cold half and half (about 1 cup)
  • pinch nutmeg

Melt butter in bottom of a stock pan, add onions and mushrooms- sauté until soft. Add everything except the crab and the cornstarch dissolved in half and half and adjust to taste. Cook on medium-low until potatoes start to soften, then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir til thick. Stir in the crab meat and heat through. Serve.

13 thoughts on “Cheater’s Crab/Lobster/Shrimp Seafood Corn Chowder and some chowder/bisque food history…

  1. I’m also a fan of chowder. Especially if it’s paired with crusty bread. Yum for the rainy days here.
    Btw, I nominated you for the Post a Quote Challenge. I hope you don’t mind dropping by. Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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