Hot Chicken Salad

In which we have a game night with some very important people.

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.DSCN2952This 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.  DSCN2954This 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.  Hot Chicken Salad (2)

BLT Salad

In which I attempt to hold onto summer for a minute longer.

I still have a few tomatoes clinging to the vines in my garden.  There are plenty of green tomatoes that I should pick and use to make Green Tomato Mincemeat or Fried Green Tomatoes.  That might come later.  I’m clinging to the skirts of summer, pulling on the hems, begging it not to leave quite yet.  There is so much preparation that has to happen before winter and so little daylight to do it all. DSCN2914Rather than dwelling on the melancholy of passing time, I’m going to grab another ripe tomato and make this salad again.

 

There is a movement going on right now called “Will It Waffle?”.  In his book Daniel Shumski answers this question over and over to delicious ends. DSCN2916

I believe this salad was created with a similar thought in mind, and probably before Mr. Shumski was even thinking about waffles.  Everyone has had BLTs.  There is that pleasure of biting into the crispy toast and having the tomato juice combine with the mayo as it drips down your hands.  Saladizing the classic sandwich gives it a bit of elegance.  You can serve it in a bowl, eat it with a knife and fork.  It instantly becomes fancy food.  It’s not just a salad, it’s a Panzanella.

Take one last bite out of summer.  Find that last red tomato and make this salad.  Fancy it up with a good loaf of Italian or French bread.  Use your favorite bacon.  Get out your fancy dishes and eat this salad.

DSCN2917BLT Salad