Heirloom Corn Chowder: Almost Spring, But Not Quite

Dish 40: Heirloom Corn Chowder at 10Arts, at the Ritz-Carlton, Broad St by City Hall / 10 Avenue of the Arts, http://www.10arts.com/

The first warm day of spring: finally! It is time to ditch class and get outside. Nature trail at Haverford, I have been awaiting your thaw for a long time. New Balance, it is time for you to get muddy. Light spring jackets, you will soon see the light of day.

But it is too easy to ruin a perfect early spring day by diving overenthusiastically into the summer collection. (I learned this in the fifth grade, when my parents had to institute the “no shorts under 55 degrees” rule. I was initially devastated and then appreciative.) Today is the day for a long run, for a short skirt, for leaving the boots at home—but today is not the day for popsicles.

The perfect dish for a day like today, after a long deep freeze, is something light that tastes of summer but with a little more substance. Something warming. Like a jean jacket lightly lined with a paisley print cotton. The ideal dish heralds the sunshine and wards off the shade—something like the heirloom corn chowder at 10Arts.

The corn chowder is not sensational or extraordinary, in the way that a lazy summer afternoon on your uncle’s farm is neither; it beckons the sunshine with the kiss of a sweet ear of Jersey corn and gives the cool a swift kick in the rear with an embrace of homemade cornbread. Savory and sweet, warm and light, just the dish to desire when spring draws near, but not too near.

I took the chowder to go and sat in the sun outside 1700 Market, by the indestructible cabbage flower plants. People hurry a little less hurriedly from their offices to lunch and meetings; women have brought out bright yellows and fuscias for to thank the sun. They’ve left their jackets at their desks. Their cold weather scowls have softened into faints smiles of hope. After a lengthy frost, a little optimism; the cold isn’t gone yet, but with the aid of some corn chowder, we can pretend that it is.


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