World’s best chicken salad and how/why we cook/eat

Two recent cartoons in The New Yorker pretty much sum it up: PC Vey’s cranky cook saying to the man behind her at the stove: “Not now — I’m cooking to avoid intimacy.”

And in the Pat Byrnes’ cartoon  the female cook asks an anxious-looking man, “How am I supposed to cook? The Internet is down.”

Avoiding intimacy is probably the Number One reason for burying our timid selves alive in sarcophagi of fat. It makes it really problematic for others to burrow in — either physically or psychically. And when we emerge from the tomb — should we be so lucky — we are adrift in a sea of new and unaccustomed feelings. Swamped, even.

That’s how I’m feeling after getting ready of  just 31 pounds: as though the filter between my brain and mouth has been removed for cleaning and, just now, there is none. Anything I think, pretty much is gonna come out and that’s not always a good thing. For instance, He Who Is a Rec0vering Baptist (and tobacco chewer) suggests I not go to any more funerals for a while or I’m going to be perceived as a genuinely Crazy Ol’ Lady.

As for the internet, yesterday afternoon we were debating going out for supper after Friday work and decided there was nothing we could afford or that we wouldn’t have to shower and change for that would be any better than a big plate of tossed salad with some of our first green beans steamed and a handful of our new blueberries, slices of our first tomatoes and the rest of the world’s best chicken salad, the recipe for which came from the internet.

I cooked about 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I like dark meat — recipe calls for 2 whole chicken breasts) in a mixture of Move Over Butter and EVOO. Cool and shred or dice. Wash and dice 3 stalks of good celery.

Then, and this is the crowning glory of this dish, you make an aioli by whizzing in the food processor 1 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s reduced-fat), 2 peeled garlic cloves, 2/3 cup best-quality grated Parmesan (do NOT buy pre-grated for this dish) and 1 cup basil leaves, washed and patted dry. You’re sorta making chicken salad with pesto and mayonnaise but the freshness of the basil and the tang of your good Parmesan make it something better than that.

Combine aioli with chicken and celery, diced and try to keep from eating it all at one sitting.


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