Grandma Ellie’s Fish Chowder


We were in Cape Cod, Massachusetts last weekend, and I touched base with my good friend, Jen. She has a place on the Cape, and has been going there since she was a little girl to visit her Grandma Ellie. Jen shared Grandma Ellie’s Fish Chowder recipe with me several years ago, and I was reminded of it while eating some chowder at the Gateway Tavern in Wareham.

The Cape is all about family vacations and creating memories, so I want to share Grandma Ellie’s recipe with you, along with some tidbits about her.

2006 Grandma Ellie family pic

2006—Grandma Ellie second to left and my friend, Jen, and her two daughters, on the right, along with her husband, brother, sister-in-law and their children, and Jen’s parents.

Here’s some background info about Grandma Ellie, used with permission from her Obituary in the Hartford Courant:

Eleanor Josselyn Andrews lived to age 96, passing in 2016. Born in Brockton, MA in 1920, she was the daughter of Clare and Ruth Hill Josselyn. She spent her childhood in Hanover, MA. Or, as she called it, “Hanova.”

Ellie graduated from Jackson College at Tufts University with a degree in Biology. In later years, she earned a Master’s degree in Education. She married her husband, Charles “Chick” Andrews of Worcester in 1942. He was the love of her life for sixty-two years before he passed away in 2004.

After their marriage and Chick’s service in the United States Navy, they settled in Farmington, Ct., where they raised three children. Ellie was a creative and nurturing wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and homemaker who enjoyed sewing, cooking, knitting and made the best chocolate pudding ever. She was a lifelong avid reader and taught kindergarten for many years in Farmington.

2002 Grandma with her 3 kids

2002—Grandma Ellie with her 3 adult children.

Upon their retirement, Ellie and Chick moved to Chatham on Cape Cod, where they built a much-loved, Cape-style home. She had an innate sense of style and decor, decorating her home with antiques collected over many years. Pursuing her interests in retirement, she became an accomplished quilter, was an active volunteer at The Chatham Historical Society’s Atwood House, St. Christopher’s Church and The Mayo House. She was a member of Questers, the Chatham Garden Club, and Eastward Ho! Country Club. She and Chick also enjoyed traveling. Ellie lived independently on the Cape until she was 94 years old.

Jen told me that when they went to the Cape each summer for their two-week vacation, their first stop was always Grandma Ellie’s house—on a ridge overlooking the Atlantic. The table was set for lunch and Ellie served them chowder before Jen’s family went down to their summer cottage.

wellfleet - Grandma Ellie

2008—Wellfleet. Grandma Ellie with her two sons and daughters-in-law.

Here’s her prized recipe. I’ve made it several times over the years, and I highly recommend it:

Grandma Ellie's Fish Chowder

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

1.5 lbs of skinned haddock (or mild white fish like Alaskan halibut)

4 red potatoes (cut bite size)

1 onion (diced)

¼ stick butter (large slices)

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp dill weed (or Old Bay Seasoning with a bay leaf)

1 bud garlic (or 1 tsp minced garlic)

1 cup white wine (sauvignon blanc or fume blanc)

2 cups each of light cream and boiling water

1 bag frozen corn

Put everything except cream and water in a deep baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for an hour (until potatoes are done). Prepare boiling water and corn in deep pot on stove top. Add baked mixture to pot. Stir in warmed cream.

Grandma Ellie wrote: “I cut the fish and butter in large chunks and add onions, potatoes, spices and wine.”

Serves about 6 people.

*Alexi Venice’s experience with this recipe. I use a glass baking dish and remove from the oven when caramelization appears. I also recommend a bottle of fume blanc because it adds a smoky, charred flavor. (Chardonnay is not a good wine for this recipe.) I’ve made this dish with cod and it’s terrific. Enjoy!

I actually serve up Grandma Ellie’s Fish Chowder in Testing Tommy, The San Francisco Mystery Series, Book 3, which I’m writing now. (I’ll include the recipe at the end of the book for grins and giggles.)

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4 thoughts

  1. Thank you for sharing this story about our beloved mother and Grammie Ellie! I look forward to reading your blog and books. Jen has talked about you often, and I know that this article is very special to her.
    Lucy Andrews


    1. So glad you liked it, Lucy. Everything seemed to come together when we were on the Cape. I feel like I knew Grandma Ellie through my friendship with Jen and making the chowder many times. Ellie was quite a woman.


  2. I love reading your blog! I’m looking forward to making Grandma Ellie’s Fish Chowder, sounds wonderful! Give my best to your daughter!

    Carol Kirk

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

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