It’s family reunion time! Granny’s Chicken Salad

It’s summer and that means family reunions!

A vintage family reunion photo from my family. Actually, I think that this was way before The Hubs was even in the picture (no pun intended).

We recently got back from a family reunion (with The Hub’s family) in Houston.    We had a great time catching up, seeing how much the nieces and nephew had grown (OMG!), visiting the Gulf and the Space Center, and eating!

We also did what  a lot of families do at reunion time and reverted to our roots—we revisited hunting and gathering.

The girls all went to the beach and gathered:

Gathering shells on the beach.

The boys all went hunting:

The catch from the guys: red snapper, dorado, king fish and one ling.  (There will be some fish recipes soon as we brought back a LOT of fish.)

We all went to the Space Center:

They had just gotten in this scale replica of the shuttle. By Fall 2012, you will be able to tour the inside.

But, before I get to a great recipe that I snatched from my wonderful (and I mean truly wonderful) mother-in-law, let me offer some advice.


  1. Don’t be an ass.
  2. Rest assured that someone will be crying.   It may be the three-year-old or it might be you.   Be brave; it will soon subside.
  3. Don’t be afraid to share a bathroom.   Be prepared for interruptions.    This includes nieces walking in on The Hubs, the brother-in-law walking in on you while you’re putting on make-up (and staying to shave!!!), and boxers left on the cabinet.   (No one is admitting they did that last one.)
  4. Don’t be upset with your spouse if he is short with you.  He is  under a lot more pressure.  After all, it is his family.
  5. Do volunteer to go to the grocery store, etc. for some alone time for yourself.
  6. Be careful about the suggestions you make.   Some will think they need to concur just so no one’s feelings will get hurt.   Some will outright disagree.   Some will pout.    A suggestion to make a side dish may morph into everyone wanting to contribute and before you know it, it is an all out kitchen war. (I have first hand knowledge of this carnage after living through the Guacamole Wars of 2010.  Fun times.)
  7. Do cherish the time.   You truly love them all (bless their hearts) and you never know how long it will be before you see everyone again.
  8. Take lots of pictures!
  9. Swap lots of recipes!

That is one of my favorite things about family—swapping recipes and keeping up culinary family traditions.  We have always centered our reunions around food.   (The last time we all got together the theme was ice cream.)

Draw from all the foodie wisdom, trust their judgment, and steal as many recipes as you can!

I have always tried to find the perfect chicken salad recipe.   I have tried and tweaked many to no avail.    My problem?   I was trying to make it too frou-frou, adding dill, mustard seed, yogurt, goat cheese—you name it, I tried it.     But when will I learn that the simple dishes are sometimes the best?     I found the perfect chicken salad at the reunion, made by my terrific mother-in-law.   We all had to steal have the recipe.

Granny’s Perfect Chicken Salad

3 1/2 c.  cooked chicken, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. seedless red grapes, halved   (I like to use red and green grapes.)
1 c. mayo (I use the olive oil kind.)
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 t. pepper

Place chicken, celery and grapes in a large bowl.   In a separate bowl, whisk together mayo, sour cream and pepper.  Combine.

Remember our rule after we spend time with our families?   We can cuss, discuss and analyze on the way home, but once we cross our own state line, the conversation must turn elsewhere.  🙂

If you have a humorous family reunion story, please share it with us all and comment.


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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
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