Healthy Chicken Salad for Bridge Club or Book Club
Our Virtual Book Club monthly book for March is “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.
On Thursday, my post was about home decor in the 60s.
Today it’s all about hosting a ladies luncheon!
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Welcome to the Virtual Book Club – Culinary Version
Three other bloggers and I will share our interpretation of a different book each book on the fourth week of each month.
On Thursday we will be sharing something home decor related and on the following Saturday a culinary treat inspired by our book.
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Entertaining in the 50s and 60s
After the hard times of the depression and World War II, people were ready to embrace life and entertain friends and family.
Social clubs were all the rage. In the book “The Help” the Holbrooks go to a supper club once a week. Supper clubs were a big part of social life from the 40s to the 60s. It was typically fine dining and live music.
The ladies did lunch!
They headed to the closest department store to buy a new dress or sewed one from a Butterick pattern.
Bridge Club (also known as bridge party or bridge luncheon) was very popular. My mom played bridge with the ladies during the day and my parents played as a couple. The bridge club was hosted by a different member each time and it rotated from house to house.
What is so interesting to me about that time period and was depicted in the movie is how just about everyone smoked. I just can’t even imagine having a room filled with cigarette smoke.
Food at Ladies Luncheon
I decided to make one of my all-time favorite lunch recipes, chicken salad as it was also featured at the bridge club luncheon in “The Help”.
My chicken salad is based on a sandwich which was my favorite thing at a little sandwich shop called “Boloney’s” that used to be in our town. When the shop went out of business, I began making my own version.
A traditional chicken salad would have been made with mayo, miracle whip, and/or sour cream. Recipes that I’ve seen for the same quantity could have up to 1 cup of mayo.
My recipe has only 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt. It is still very creamy without all of the fat and calories.
Along with the chicken salad, I’m serving a fruit salad and deviled eggs.
Deviled eggs were part of the bridge club lunch in “The Help”. Hilly Holbrook is a nasty character and she was the “boss” of the ladies in the group. She also didn’t like paprika on her deviled eggs. As a nod to her, I didn’t put paprika on a few of my eggs.
Iced Tea and hot coffee would also have been served. While not something that I grew up on, I believe that sweet tea would have been the refreshment of choice at a southern luncheon.
The chicken I used in this recipe came in my monthly ButcherBox. Their Free-Range Organic Chicken is delicious. While already affordable, they have a special running from March 24th – 31st. Sign-up today to get responsibly sourced meat delivered right to your door.
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There are many different ways to make chicken salad. Here are some things that can be added to chicken salad.
- seedless grapes
- water chestnuts
- slivered almonds
- yellow or red onions
- hard-boiled eggs
- curry powder
Early American chicken salad recipes can be found in 19th-century Southern cookbooks, including Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife: Or, House and Home (1847) and Abby Fisher‘s What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking (1881). Rutledge details a recipe for “A Salad To Be Eaten With Cold Meat Or Fowl” that explains how to make a mayonnaise from scratch, before adding it to cold meats (chicken and seafood)
Other Luncheon Food Options
My mom used to make a sandwich loaf for luncheons. I loved it as it combined several other favorite salads; egg salad, tuna salad, and ham salad.
It was a whole loaf of white bread with the crust completely cut off. The bread was then sliced into four pieces horizontally.
Each layer had a different salad; egg salad, tuna salad, and ham salad, and then topped with the final layer of bread. The loaf is then iced in softened cream cheese. Serve the loaf by cutting it vertically into sandwich-sized pieces. So good but so full of calories!
Depending on your taste, you could also serve small roast beef sandwiches or a club sandwich for a luncheon.
Other side dishes that would have been popular in the 50s and 60s would have been a jello salad, cottage cheese, or ambrosia.
Playing bridge has been around for centuries but women of the 50s and 60s used it as a way to form friendships and have something to do while their husbands were at work and their children were at school.
It has become a game of senior citizens now as so many women pursue careers instead of being full-time homemakers.
The game itself seems rather complicated and I imagine you could form a card game group with something less demanding like 3/13 or Hand and Foot. I would imagine that playing bridge would be a great way to keep your mind sharp.
While doing my research I stumbled upon an article from 2015 about a group of women in North Carolina who formed a bridge group in the 1950s and still are playing bridge.
They say they didn’t hold the club in June, July, and August because their kids were out of school. They talk about maybe changing that. I find that quite funny as they all appear to be between 60 and 80 years old.
While I won’t be starting a bridge club anytime soon, when I was a young mom at home with my baby, I did start a chapter of the Children’s Home & Aid Society to do philanthropic work. It was a way to meet other young moms and do something good for those not as fortunate as us.
The ladies in “The Help” did something like that as well. They hosted a charity event where Miss Hilly won Minnie Jackson’s Chocolate Cream Pie!
Peace & Love,
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Healthy Chicken Salad for Bridge Club or Book Club
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tbsp green onions (greens only)
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Chop cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces
- Mix yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, green onions, dill, and spices.
- Add peas to a mixing bowl.
- Finally, add the diced chicken breast
- Garnish with additonal dill sprigs
- Serve on lettuce or as a sandwich on bread or a roll
- You can use rotisserie chicken or chicken breast that has been poached (boiled) for 15 minutes or until cooked through.