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Great Chicken Salad: The Saving Grace of the Southern Hostess

In our small Southern town, most parties centered on holidays, birthdays, an occasional wedding, a baby shower or a garden club luncheon.  There were also covered dish dinners, family reunions and church suppers, but they were more communal gatherings – what we called “get-togethers.”

Chicken and pimento cheese finger sandwiches (with the crusts removed) were a favorite and could be found at many of these parties. We loved them! My mother froze any leftover sandwiches and toasted them for a special family treat. Ladies luncheons often featured chicken salad on a leaf of lettuce, a Jello salad and hot rolls.

As a child, I remember my mother’s chicken salad as a rather simple, but delicious, combination of her perfectly cooked and seasoned chicken, with finely chopped celery and mayonnaise. As time went on however, tea rooms and restaurants opened and chicken salad became a signature dish that featured additional ingredients. I can still remember how much I loved chicken salad with grapes when I had it for the first time.

When Phil and I were dating, we had chicken salad that was made with chunks of pineapple and toasted walnuts at a Nashville restaurant. It is still one of our favorite “go to” recipes. I often make it with rotisserie chicken and serve over salad greens for a quick and easy supper.

Chicken Salad Ingredients

Do you have a great chicken salad variation? If so, I would love to know how you make it.

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