Downriver Dispatches

News of WEstern Wahkiakum County and Naselle


March 28, 2019

Reader’s Request

I am grateful and I give thanks to you the readers who have approached me with your favorable comments and suggestions. While at the Rosburg Store recently I was asked by a Wahkiakum County Eagle reader if I would post some local recipes. I gave it much thought and decided to give you one of my own in a unique way in which I am sure you will want to try it for yourselves. It is as common as coffee in these parts just as jambalaya is common in Louisiana with no two recipes being the same. I am referring to the common clam chowder. Some prefer chowder with tomatoes, but this recipe will not have tomatoes ruining my good chowder. There are over 15,000 species of clams, of which only 150 species are considered edible. In Washington State there are 10 varieties that can be harvested for food.

I have tried clam chowder in almost every restaurant in the area from Kelso to Warrenton, and some were very good and some were just not worth eating because the clams were too chewy. Many want to know which type of clams are best to use for chowder. That is a matter for the individual palate, but for the sake of time we will just use the clams that one would find in a can at any local grocery store. This way you will not have to go through the process of finding a spot to dig for clams and then cleaning and prepping them unless you like to do that.

Ingredients to use in your chowder can and will vary only because most people use a recipe as a guideline and add their own other ingredients to their liking so, what I will present is ways to get through making chowder without mistakes that can and do happen to those who have never made chowder before. The main ingredients are: finely chopped clams, finely diced cooked bacon without the grease, olive oil, heavy cream or half and half, potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, dried thyme, lemon juice, and the clam juice from the cans you use.

The trick to getting really soft clams is to fry them in olive oil in a big pot until the clams are soft. Add the cooked bacon and continue to fry until a brown roux starts to form at the bottom of the pan, just short of burning. This is when you use the combination of clam juice and lemon to deglaze the bottom of the pan. The lemon juice acts as an emulsifier to break down the fats so the chowder does not appear or taste greasy.

Once the pot is deglazed, then the vegetables can be added with water. The amounts you use will depend on how many you are serving and your preferences for the size of the vegetables. When the potatoes are sufficiently soft but not mushy, with most of the water cooked off, slowly add the cream while stirring vigorously. Usually the lemon juice is sufficiently mixed that the cream will not curdle, however, for those who like a lot of lemon be careful to slowly pour the cream while stirring. When the clam chowder is ready and if it appears to be a bit watery, then take a quart jar and put a small amount of white flour in it and fill it half way with the broth from the chowder, or use chicken broth. Shake it vigorously with the lid on until mixed and then pour it through a sieve to keep out the lumps. Try this style of clam chowder and you will love it.

Westend News

The Rosburg Store is proud to introduce their new cook, Rob Digirolamo. He was from the Vancouver area and moved to the area about eight months ago to be near his dad and have a place in this smaller community for his child.

The Naselle/Grays River Valley Seniors luncheon meets every Wednesday at noon for all those who are 55 and older; also the potluck will be at the Valley Bible Church on every fourth Wednesday. Anyone interested in renting the Rosburg Hall is encouraged to contact Sonja Kruse at 465-2251 or Barbara Rose at 465-2251. Thursday luncheon at noon at the Rosburg Hall is sponsored by the Community Action Program (CAP) out of Kelso/Longview. Any questions, contact Denise Rae at (360) 425-3430 extension 259.

Set your calendar for April 13 at the Gays River Valley Center at Johnson Park for their Easter Crafts for Kids from 1-3 p.m. For more information call 360-465-2310.

Naselle News

The Appelo Archives is proud to announce their Eighth Annual Logger's Reunion on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are honoring all loggers this year. Everyone is welcome to attend. For information please contact Kelly Shumar at the Appelo Archives 360-484-7103 or

Don’t forget that the Finnish-American Folk Festival of Naselle invites the public to the second event held at the new Naselle Community Center at 14 Parpala Road in Naselle this Saturday, 2-5 p.m., for an artists fair. Artists will be on hand, and one may purchase one's favorites. Sandwiches, wine or homemade apple cider will be available. Donations are accepted. Artists in residence include Marie Powell, Lori Holliday, Wendy Manula, Helen Pikanen, Shannon Tetz, Erin Engelson, Samantha Wert, Adam Haase, Pat Howerton, and others.

The Naselle-Grays River Valley Schools are looking for a maintenance supervisor who will work directly under the superintendent and will oversee all functions pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the District’s facilities and grounds.

Friends of the Naselle Timberland Library meet from 6 - 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month. Join them to help plan library events and activities. The library is located at 4 Parpala Rd, Naselle. The first Friday of every month until June 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. children of all ages can make amazing Lego constructions, and display them at the library. All designs will be on display for one week after the program. The first Saturday of every month join them for their Family Movie Matinee at 1 p.m. They will provide the popcorn; you bring a pillow to sit on.


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