Sometimes you just need that combination of cool refreshment and savory satisfaction. I think that’s when chicken salad comes in handy. It’s a casual summer treat, but it usually only comes about once you’ve had your fill of both types of extremes—too many cold, vegetable-based meals one day, and a whip-cracking, bulldozing heavy meal with meats or poultry another. I guess what I’m saying is that leftover, roasted chicken salad with crisp vegetables in a sandwich is that perfect yin-yang of summertime eating.

And it happens to be one of my specialties. I love it when you can claim not just a signature dish, but a type of dish as your forte when it comes to bringing stuff to parties. I’m the salsa master, one person might say, and everyone else will back off in reverence from bringing said specialty of another. Or, I’m the soup killah so you better watch out in the winter, because you never know what I’m going to put in a pot! Okay, maybe no one’s going to challenge that place your routine when the time comes, but it’s still a matter of pride, and principle.

Most of the time, you don’t even know how such responsibilities happen. But I know precisely how this chicken salad responsibility fell into my lap. I sort of claimed it so, one time, and it just kept. I called for a picnic one day in late May or early June about six years ago, in Prospect Park. I said I was making chicken salad for sandwiches, and invited others to make their own chicken salads and we’d have plenty of freshly-baked bread to sample all of them, for fun. I called it a “Parknic” and wrote about it on this blog. Then I held another, which I wrote about as well. (In the time in between these posts, two people who had met at the first Parknic got married, and have remained my closest friends since.)

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