It takes careful balance to maintain favorite family culinary traditions while exploring new foods. But that’s what Hagerstown resident Sally Poole has done.
“My husband’s family had gathered for oyster stew and ham sandwiches on Christmas Eve for at least 20 years before we were married,” Poole said in an email sent with her recipe. “When we moved into the family home, my husband and I decided to continue the tradition.”
“The oyster stew and ham sandwiches never change but everything else is a new adventure,” she said. “I love to try new recipes and everyone who comes is asking what is new to taste each year.”
Sometimes a new dish wins widespread acclaim. That happened with chicken salad with grapes.
“About 10 years ago, my friend Pam gave me this recipe,” she said. “I decided to try it out on the Christmas Eve crowd.”
The family loved it. The following year, Poole’s young nephew, Eric, called to beg for more.
“How can I say no?” Poole said. “Ten pounds of chicken every year, at least two pounds for Eric just because of that phone call. Thus chicken salad with grapes was added to the never-change part of the celebration.”
Poole is also a member of the Hagerstown Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. Group members’ recipes will run in this column during May.
Poole said EGA is open to novices as well as accomplished stitchers. The group meets the last Tuesday of the month, September through April at the Hagertown Seventh Day Adventist Church on Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown. The group also holds an all-day stitching get-together on the last Tuesday of July.
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor
Chicken salad with grapes
2 pounds cooked chicken cut in bite-size pieces (see cook’s note)
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon dried tarragon or fresh tarragon (see cook’s note)
1 teaspoon Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt or sea salt
1/2 cup red seedless grapes (see cook’s note)
Mix chicken with onion, mayonnaise, tarragon, seasoned salt and grapes. Add more grapes as desired to contrast sweet and savory flavors.
Cook’s notes: Sally Poole uses breast meat for this recipe. Adjust amount of tarragon to suit your taste.
Add enough grapes to taste the sweetness. Really, taste as you go and add the amount of ingredients that taste good to you.
— Courtesy of Sally Poole, member of the Hagerstown Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. For more information about the group, call Poole at 301-797-0355.