Every fall a portion of my incredibly large family gathers around a vat of clam chowder. It’s called — rather predictably — “Clam Chowder Day” and it used to include a hike up a mountain followed by a mountain of food. Now that most of them (okay, us) are old and decrepit, it’s been winnowed down to just the food. I’m not sure why a pack of polacks would choose chowder as the headliner for their reunions instead of more ethnic fare. Or at least something representative of our land-locked region. But I guess Polishality and logic don’t always go hand-in-hand. Anyway, I’ve never partaken of the sacred broth. Until today. My brother took over as head clam chef — Great-Uncle Wally is now officially retired — and he did a passable job. I told him it was surprisingly ungross. Which is probably one of the nicer things I’ve ever said to him. It helped (a lot) that the clams were minced. There was one incident, though. I found something that looked like a noodle in there. As I was inspecting it, my aunt told me that it was a clam “foot.” I was about to toss it aside when my loving brother sidled up and said, “No, that’s just a noodle.” It took me about two chews to realize which one was full of crap.