My son likes cold salads. This is a very Russian thing, where cold vegetable salads are an integral part of Russian diets.
In America we are accustomed now to being able to buy fresh vegetables year round. Of course, in January they have likely been shipped from California, but they are on the shelves. Russia, despite being a vast country, has traditionally not been able to get fresh veggies so easily in winter - unless you are very wealthy and have access to pricey imports.
Now, to be fair, I last visited Russia in 2004 so maybe things have changed radically and normal folks can get fresh veggies year round. I don't know.
I do know the Russian tradition has been to can or pickle veggies in summer, to see folks through the long winters. Nothing wrong with that. Both my kids were happy to eat vegetables when I adopted them, because fresh veggies were considered a big treat. They would pick onions and tomatoes from the garden and just eat them raw, right then and there. Of course, I was delighted by that, after admonishing them to rinse the veggies off with a hose, at least.
So a few years ago my friend LeeAnn gave us some chicken salad she had made. I am not a big fan of cold salads, but Michael LOVED it. He inhaled it.I didn't even get to try a bite. I put it in the fridge, and the next time I checked it was GONE.
LeeAnn puts chopped celery, chopped pecans, and grapes, in her chicken salad, so it's fairly healthy.
Last week I went to Honeybaked Ham for my lb. of turkey I like to keep in the fridge for a snack. Great low-carb high-protein snack, smoked turkey. They had some small containers of chicken salad in the cooler, and the salad looked like it had grapes in it, which is how LeeAnn makes hers.
I got home and looked at it and that tiny container was $8! Michael ate it all in less than 24 hours.
I decided yesterday to just find LeeAnn's recipe and make my own chicken salad, to keep in the fridge for Mike. He is never home for dinner these days, always out with friends, but he often comes in at midnight hungry. I'd rather he eat chicken salad than just a granola bar.
So I found the original email from LeeAnn where I had asked how she made her chicken salad.
"I just salt/pepper/boil boneless chicken breasts, shred in food processor, add mayo, pecan bits, a little bit of diced red onions and celery, and a pinch of pepper and salt and a bigger pinch of sugar. At the end I add celery salt until I like the taste.Then I add the grapes last so they don't get smooshed."
I used rotisserie chicken because it's easier to pull chicken off the bone - and Lola was happy to eat the skin and gristley bits, of course. I went right by LeeAnn's instructions, but I also added some squeezes of fresh lemon juice to the chicken, and some onion powder and Lawrey's seasoned salt. I made Mom taste it. She said it was good. (I couldn't taste-test it because my stomach won't tolerate raw onion, no matter how finely chopped.) The grapes were rather large and I asked Mom if I should halve them. NO. Of course, Michael said I should have chopped the grapes. He ate a big fat sandwich when he got home, though, so it was a win-win situation for me.
I used up a good bit of mayonnaise, and Lola had a great time using her incredibly long tongue to lick the jar...