"I have a tendency to cook too much," he said, and because he lives alone, he gives away much of it. "You can't do this all the time, because then they start asking for it."
Food writer Rick Nichols, also a market regular, chatted up Sarge recently in the aisles and suggested that he do an appearance just for fun.
The fun started the day before - an off-day for the Phillies - when Sarge shelled king crab, crab, and shrimp. He put the shells, a bay leaf, and pepper in a pot of water to make a seafood stock.
Sarge carried the pot over to the market's La Cucina demonstration kitchen, where it awaited other ingredients. He sweated celery and onion in olive oil, chopped garlic and potatoes, seared the seafood, and scooped out round loaves of crusty bread, which he slathered with olive oil and baked at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
As Sarge added corn, lime, red pepper, wine, and heavy cream without ever seeming to measure, it became clear that he does not use written recipes. In fact, his preferred method is to add the stock to the vegetables little by little so he can get the desired results. "This way, I never have too much stock and not enough vegetables," he explained.
How much seafood? He said he had four tiger shrimp, four king crab claws, and - well, it's not clear how much crab meat he tossed in. When you're cooking this dish for someone else, "you use however much depending on how much you like them," he said.
The chowder came out just fine - rich with seafood and tender bites of potato. The broth was too thin for Sarge's taste, but "this is impossible to mess up," he said. "It's a good seafood soup if it doesn't come out quite right."
Contact Michael Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.