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Chicken Salad

Imagine it is New Years Eve of 1937. You're at a dinner party in Champaign, Illinois. John and Nellie Schwengel are your hosts, and you're coming together with 21 others for a buffet supper.

Ms. Schwengel's menu consisted of the following:

  • Chicken salad on lettuce leaves, garnished with pimento

  • Popover rolls - hot with butter

  • Hot chocolate and coffee

  • Ice cream

  • Chocolate nut fudge

I love that great- great- grandma Nellie recalls the number of guests, when the event took place, what was served, and kept the recipes for nearly everything she made. On some holidays, she even noted if guests brought food, what people likes and disliked, and if there were place cards or decor. I'd love so much to take a trip back in time to be a guest around the dinner table of my family in the 1930s and 1940s. But for now, the best that I can do is recreate some of these recipes and share them with you!

Happy New Year from Family to Table. Thanks for following me on this journey over the past year!

I've placed and * by the ingredients that I can find at my local Illinois famers market.


  • 1 part chicken*

  • 1/2 part celery*

  • English walnuts*

  • Lettuce leaf*

  • Miracle whip salad dressing mixed with whipped cream (or if too dry, add just thick cream)


  • For buffet supper, Nellie notes that she cooked and took from the bone and cut into small pieces the chicken from two four pound chickens.

  • She then added two stalks of celery, finely cut.

  • She then added 3/4 pound English walnuts.

  • 2-3 heads of lettuce for the wrap

  • One small jar of pimentos to garnish.

  • 1/2 to 3/4 jar of miracle whip and some whipped cream.

Serving suggestion: "Perfect compliment - hot popover rolls".

Serving size: Serves about 22 people.

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