Chicken Salad Recipe
and cleaning groceries
Venture out again to the grocery store for the first time in 48 days (COVID Time). Go in with a plan. Sit in your car until you have that plan. Gloving and sanitizing and covering your face with a shirt or bandana or home-crafted mask isn’t an empty or ridiculous or overreactive or selfish act, it’s also protecting everyone else. Don’t worry about looking like a weirdo. Most of us are weirdos on the best days.
Obey the rules of the grocery store. Most stores have posted many signs indicating the best practices. You are not immune. The people around you are not immune. The best practices are there to protect all of us.
Watch someone park their cart and then stand three feet away from it contemplating choices. (That’s colonizing like 15 feet of this aisle and I need to get to that Worcestershire sauce.) Do not try to pass them. You don’t know where they’ve been and they are not wearing a mask but are wearing a suit, which screams, “I definitely have not been at home this whole time.” Go around or stand there and stare hard at them. Wait and watch them touch 42 bottles of BBQ sauce, unable to choose between Carolina Gold or Memphis or Kansas City until they realize that they are the problem and make a sudden choice before scurrying away. Be glad that you wipe down EVERYTHING that comes into your home with disinfectant wipes or sprays.
At home, set up a dirty side and a clean side. Wipe down your groceries, disinfect everything and slowly move it to the clean side (I go so far as to unbox things in cardboard, throw out the cardboard and then disinfect the plastic inside). Then, leave your bags outside, follow all the guidelines like you are living through a pandemic (BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS!). Wash your hands. Wash all the doorknobs you’ve touched. Wash your floors maybe? You’ve been outside. Assume you’ve touched something ucky and wash everything as though that ucky came home with you.
With the sweet smell of “Clean” and “Safe” in the air, take all of your leftover chicken out of the fridge or grab that rotisserie chicken you just picked up from the store. Pick through that good meat, deconstructing the bird while preserving the best bits for your own snacking. Save the bones and make stock again later.
Throw on Cuomo’s briefing. Cry when he talks about his brother. Miss your sibling/cousin/literally anyone you can’t hug right now. Be sad for a minute, but not so sad that you stop paying attention to what you are doing and cut yourself.
Once you have a pile of meat, cut that up into bites and toss it in a bowl.
Grab some fruit: apples, grapes, dried cranberries/cherries/blueberries/apricots (dare I say raisins?), a little of this and that. Whatchu got? Chop it up and/or toss it in.
Maybe some nuts? Pecans are a fave, but they are not cheap. Maybe there are some all the way in the back from that time you made those bomb-ass cookies. None of that? Move on.
Got celery? Chop some of that up too.
Add mayo (or Miracle Whip).
Add salt (My mother is really truly not the best cook, but her chicken salad is somehow the best. I finally tracked down the secret to her chicken salad: celery salt). You want to make sure it is enough salt. There is nothing worse than bland chicken salad and a little bit of salty with that sweet fruit is the same magic as salted caramel.
Mix all that up, adjusting mayo (miracle whip) or salt as you taste. Keep tasting until you’ve hit the best yum. Be careful not to taste the whole bowl. If there is dried fruit in there, definitely use a little more mayo/miracle whip than you would otherwise, because it’s gonna get absorbed, and let that sit a bit.
Eat with those random hamburger buns you still have, or the leftover Ritz crackers (not great for dipping though, tbh), wheat thins, rice cakes, on top of some salad or just with a fork while falling down a rabbit hole of articles and tweets speculating that Andrew Cuomo MAY have nipple piercings.
Stay inside for another 48 days (COVID Time) or until you actually truly HAVE TO (not want to) go back out.
Venmo tip bucket @emilyroseks