During a long and lazy sea-side vacation, you get to know your preferences for things like clam chowder. During the trip I'm on now to Northern California, the aha moment came when I drilled down into my chowder-eating soul and realized that there are two things I don't like about the usual bowl: its gloppy texture, and its chewy, overcooked shell-less nuggets of clam meat. The gloppy texture tells me there's flour in there unnecessarily weighing down the rest of the ingredients. And without a shell, the clams not only disappear into the thick marshy broth, they also raise suspicions of coming from a can.
Here's an alternative: a flour-less, fresh clam chowder.