We had friends over for games the other night. I made great-grandma’s recipe for whiskey slush (recipe to come later). This led into a conversation about this blog and why I started it. I commented about making my children try all of the recipes (not whiskey slush) and how sad it is that we don’t continue to make some of the recipes, but some of the recipes, like egg foo yung, should just be left in the past. “Why doesn’t anyone eat Hot Chicken Salad any more?” John lamented. Our friends turned to look at him. “What is that? I mean, I know all of those words and what they mean, but what is hot chicken salad?” “Is there macaroni in it?” another friend asked. “Nope. It’s all chicken and mayo and celery and onions and peppers all cooked up together with stuff on top. Well, one recipe is. I have something like 4 of them and I’ve only made two at this point.” So in honor of my friends, old and new and a long, complicated story of friendship beginning in 1986, I present to you the first of 4 recipes of hot chicken salad.This hot chicken salad is nostalgic in flavor and presentation. The potato chips and swiss cheese on top screams “your grandma made this.” She probably did, depending on the age of your grandma. This is the sort of food that would’ve been served in elementary school cafeterias while I was growing up. It probably made its way onto the buffet table at church potlucks in towns all over America. Diners would put this on their menu as as a daily special. It’s like the chicken equivalent of a tuna melt. This is the innocent food of a time we think of as simpler than the times we have now. In some ways, maybe it was. When life gets complicated and you want to go back to grandma’s house and just forget that you have to deal with the real world, go grab a rotisserie chicken and make some hot chicken salad. It isn’t going to help you get that promotion at work. It won’t do your housekeeping. It won’t pay a single one of your bills. But it might remind you of a time when you didn’t need to worry about any of those things, either.
In which we have a game night with some very important people.