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Pablo Neruda on Chowder

Crab chowder, recipes below

It's Hispanic History Month and we are celebrating it through the lens of food. Chilean Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th Century. During WWII and the Cold War, Neruda made noted political contributions to working class struggles and left of center movements in the Americas, Europe, and particularly Spain. In additional to his political poems, Neruda proved to be a foodie composing several odes to foods http://sunsite.dcc.uchile.cl/chile/misc/odas.html including the one below on chowder. It’s a long poem but well worth the read and several chowder recipes follow.

Ode To Conger Chowder
In the storm-tossed Chilean sea
lives the rosy conger, giant eel of snowy flesh.

And in Chilean stewpots, along the coast,was born the chowder,
thick and succulent, a boon to man.

You bring the conger, skinned, to the kitchen (its mottled skin slips off like a glove, leaving the grape of the sea exposed to the world),
naked, the tender eel glistens, prepared to serve our appetites.

Now you take garlic, first, caress that precious ivory, smell its irate fragrance, then blend the minced garlic with onion and tomato until the onion is the color of gold.

Meanwhile steam our regal ocean prawns, and when they are
tender, when the savor is set in a sauce combining the liquors
of the ocean and the clear water released from the light of the onion, then you add the eel that it may be immersed in glory, that it may steep in the oils of the pot, shrink and be saturated. 

Now all that remains is to drop a dollop of cream into the concoction, a heavy rose, then slowly deliver the treasure to the flame, until in the chowder are warmed the essences of Chile, and to the table come, newly wed, the savors of land and sea, that in this dish you may know heaven.

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Pablo Neruda: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/279

Conger Chowder recipe: http://www.soupsong.com/rconger.html

Puerto Rican Agricultural Laborers in the 1950s

Feeding the Mexican Revolution