Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nostalgic Tea Room Chicken Salad

When I was a young girl, I can remember my Mom and I going into the
city ~ Chicago ~ to visit my Aunt.  Often, we three girls would go
shopping at Marshall Field's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwitt Teller and
Carson Pirie Scott.  I loved going into the city with Mom and Aunt Susan.
They always looked so pretty and I would always pretend to be so
grown up.

I remember so many things about those trips.  My Mom always looked
like the suburban sophisticate.  Darling two piece suits.  Heels with a
matching purse.  The strand of real pearls ~ a gift from Daddy always
around her neck.  Her blonde hair curled slightly under in a side parted
bob.  A touch of powder, a bit of lipstick.  Effortlessly lovely with that
Grace Kelly kind of appeal.  Always wearing her favorite scent of 
Youth Dew by Estee Lauder.  

Her Sister ~ my Aunt Susan, was different.  The younger of the two
sisters with a free spirit attitude.  Dark hair always up in a French
Twist.  Designer dresses, slim and elegant and every bit like
Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Aunt Susan had been
a model in New York and it showed.  The way she carried 
herself, her walk, her stance.    If Audrey Hepburn needed a 
stand in,  Aunt Susan could have been she.  And her 
favorite scent ~ Diorissimo.

And there I would be, pony tail swinging, all dressed up for
shopping and lunch in the city with two of my favorite people.
And where did I always want to have lunch?

The Walnut Room at Marshall Field's!

As a young girl, this iconic room was my favorite spot to have
lunch.  It all seemed so elegant, so chic and so special.
And I remember the chicken salad.  So yummy with a hint 
of curry.  There is that curry again.  I do believe I must have
lived in India in another life :-)  My Mom always referred to
this spot as one of her favorite tea rooms.

So here is my recipe for the week ~ my interpretation of ….

Curried Chicken Salad

1 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast ~ Roasted
and cubed
1 Apple ~ pared and chopped
1 Stalk Celery ~ chopped
1 Scallion ~ chopped
Handful of Raisins
Handful of Toasted Pecans
2 Large Romaine Leaves ~ torn

1/4 Cup Mayonnaise (I use Duke's)
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Assemble romaine on two plates.  Place chicken salad in a bowl
and toss with dressing.  Divide the salad between the two
Romaine lined plates.

You  might add a glass of champagne and you and a BFF can
pretend you are Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn in the
Walnut Room or any other nostalgic tea room of your choice.

Oh and by the way ~ this is the pretty little  plate I used for
serving my salad.  It is the Plantation Colonial pattern by Mason's.
It was my Mother-In-Law's every day china pattern.  Lot's of
memories here too!

Don't let me forget to tell you the true story of the time my Grandparents
came to visit us in Chicago and we all went shopping at Marshall
Field's and Grandpa found a big comfy chair he wanted and Mom put
it on her credit card for him and I was convinced it was going to 
bankrupt my Daddy :-)  The family laughed about that one for years!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. Fun reminiscing, Susan. I can just imagine your mom and aunt. They must have been so glamorous. The chicken salad looks so wonderful! I love chicken salad.

    I remember when department stores had tea rooms. I never went to Marshall Field's because I grew up here in the Dallas area. I have been to that store recently though. It's the biggest Macy's you've ever seen! It's a beautiful building.

    1. I think it's sad that we don't have that feature in stores today. So much has changed in our society, some for the good and some little niceties we once had are no longer around. Rather sad.

  2. My grandma wore Youth Dew too !!! OMGosh - I will never forget that smile. Love the memories ox

    1. I will always keep a bottle of Youth Dew on my vanity. All I have to do is open the stopper and memories of my Mom fill the room.

  3. Sometimes I think you were a lucky little girl who lived a charmed childhood. Love the memories and the pretty plates!

    1. In many ways it was a charmed childhood, although as I have written, there were moments in my life that were quite dark. But that darkness made me stronger and made me want to cling to the good times of which there were many too. Sometimes I stand back and look at my life and realize that it has been one of extreme highs and deep lows. And somewhere ~ always ~ is a little voice that whispers in my ear "write about it".

  4. Oh Susan, what a beautiful and charming memory! Your mother and Aunt sound like real ladies and fascinating too! I like that you call it a charmed childhood and don't beat around the bush. I had a charmed one too and there were times that were not so. I'm sorry there were dark times for you, dear friend. I love that you may write about it.Listen to that little voice. I think that would be fulfilling and good for you. I love dropping in to see you. So real here. Nothing pretentious! Wonderful chicken salad recipe and the photographs and darling plates, awesome!


    1. I am not one of those who has regrets. Everything that has ever happened has shaped me into the person I am today, both the good and the bad. I am just thankful for the good memories and am working hard to create new ones. I think that we never stop growing and learning. I do my best to let go of the things I can't change and focus on making others happy.

  5. Dearest Susan, right in the middle of reading your post, I burst out mom's favorite sent was also Youth Dew.
    She has been gone almost 30 years now and my girl still has one of her Grandmother's almost empty bottle of it....and it still smells just like my mama. Sorry, I'll have to come back later and read the rest of your post....sorry.....

    1. I understand. Fragrance plays a big part in our lives. I love it when someone is known for a particular fragrance. I completely understand the tears. I have them often when I think of my Mom too.

  6. you have such wonderful memories, Susan. I love the comparison to Grace and Audrey, what a threesome you all made. I could just picture it, you with your swinging pony tail!

    1. I was always in awe of my Mom. She was the epitome of a lady. My Aunt too has always been so stylish. A few years ago my Aunt was having the symptoms of a TIA. She called my cousin (her son) to take her to the hospital. He arrived and called to her. "Out in a minute", she said, " just finishing putting on my make-up." Of course my cousin was furious because he thought she was wasting precious time. He just couldn't understand that it was so important to her to look her best, no matter what. To this day, she always looks stunning.

  7. This is my first time to read your blog. I love it! Thank you for sharing such precious memories. You have a real gift with words.
    I'm glad you are using it. Would you mind sharing what the dinner plate pattern is? I recognize the Plantation Colonial, but not the under plate. They look charming together!

    1. The under plate is "Tamzin" by Mason's. I purchased a complete set of that pattern before I was married when I went on a trip to London with my parents. I had it shipped back to the states and I believe it was a discontinued pattern when I bought it. I have seen pieces of it on eBay and Replacements Ltd. What I love about it is that it is a simple blue and white pattern that mixes in so well with other blue and white transfer ware pieces. Thank you so much for visiting!

  8. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I do remember the Walnut Room. Always felt SO grown up to be there! We used to take the train into the city and spend the day shopping, and I always wanted to do lunch there. I wore Youth Dew for several years and always got so many compliments on it. Then moved on to Cinnabar ~ also an Estee fragrance. Such memories! You are right, times have changed!
    I love your stories, Susan, and I so look forward to your posts.

    1. Wasn't taking the train into the city always so much fun! I loved it!! Thanks so much for stopping by Chris. One of my dearest childhood friends still lives on the North Shore and her name is Chris too.

  9. I love yous stories too and perfume has always taken me back to many different times...and so VIVIDLY....isnt that wild? And the old fashioned vanities that our grandma's and moms had always fascinated me. Tea rooms are so old fashioned as well....wonder why they ALL serve chicken salad?! Ha! Do you enjoy iced tea as well as hot tea?

    1. I am glad to know that you enjoy my stories. I do go on and on, don't I?

  10. ... and at the end of the meal: a walnut cookie.

  11. I enjoyed your memories so much. There was an elegance that seems to have been lost. The chicken salad looks delicious. Very pretty plates.

  12. Thanks for the recipe Susan. It sounds like one that we had in a little tea room that is no longer around, so I'm anxious to make it..Happy Thursday..Judy

  13. Susan, what a great story about shopping and your Mother and her sister! My family has lived in Dallas for years so we would eat chicken salad at a famous tea room everyone loved. Dallas also had wonderful places to eat downtown especially Neiman Marcus. Now it is the Neiman Marcus at North Park Mall that is the star with the Zodiac Room and The Mermaid Bar which are both famous! It is very convinent since we live two blocks away! Hope you will pop over and veiw my Celebration post for I love visiting you! Have a great weekend!



Oliver and I LOVE and read every comment.


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