Here is the secret to what southern women want–men, listen up and take note. What we want is something very simple, and exceedingly affordable. Hopefully, this is something you can find at close proximity.
What southern women want, what southern women need, is:
Or, perhaps– rather–merchants, take note. When you first moved to your neighborhood twenty years ago, there was a simple sandwich shop. A local chain, they had it down to a science and offered eat-in or take-out sandwiches and salads. Period.
You have watched with great anguish as this charming little restaurant has now changed hands nearly ten times. You wring your hands as you observe the venue struggling to find its identity, through a long string of couture burgers, faux Italian and fish. Now, there is no sandwich shop per se, yet we have three frozen yogurt shops and couture coffee/tea places within a square mile.
You love your neighborhood because it does in fact hold all of the above, but you need to mix it up a wee bit. Listen up, all ye restauranteurs: if you offer good chicken salad, you will be in business a long, long time. There is no stronger mode of communication than ‘word of southern women’s mouths.’ This is how films become blockbusters and books become best-sellers.
Our poor neighborhood butcher is trying to keep up with the increasing demand for chicken salad. He started offering this ‘on the side’ and has gotten an overwhelming response. This is all well and good, but he mainly wants to focus on his butcherly interests, that of selling fresh, whole chickens and various cuts of beef. You and your husband stopped by last Saturday and the poor soul had run out of chicken salad, as well as loaves of bread. Folks are knocking down his door to get to the chicken salad. Are purveyors of goods tracking this phenomenon?
You have attached a photo of the shop that makes the best chicken salad in the southern world–unfortunately it is located one hour west. You wish they would open one in your neighborhood. Recipe for the best chicken salad includes: not too much mayo– just enough to bind the white meat– a bare hint of chopped pecan or walnut, a few cut-up purple grapes.
Meanwhile, you don’t mean to overlook tuna and egg salad; your dream sandwich shop would offer simple sturdy recipes for those as well. There could be some coffee and some baked goods in the morning, but the main focus would be chicken salad. Chains are fine, but we would welcome only a chain that offers decent chicken salad. A little outdoor seating might be nice. We southern women love to eat outdoors. If it’s cold, rainy, or we’re in a rush-we’ll take a tub home to go.
Just give us chicken salad on cracked wheat, some chips and pickle on the side, and a Mason-Dixon tea–half sweet, half un. Done.
Um…..maybe this is your calling.
YOU open a sandwich shop with chicken salad!!! And serve it on anything the customer wants. Get all sorts of artisan breads, but just serve chicken salad (ok, maybe some tuna salad too-but you have to rock that as well). THEN….go to the frozen yogurt places and see if you can sell some of THEIR stuff in your shop as well as the coffee place. If your chicken salad is awesome, sell it in containers for take home.
Think about it!!
Will do, Ryoko! But to me, nothin’ tastes better than someone else making it, who makes it all.day.long. I think the best recipes are those from country towns, passed down for generations, (with no herbs).
Shouldn’t be reading your blog at lunch time. Now I can’t get chicken salad off my mind! And, yes, we Southern women do like to eat outdoors. I don’t know why more restaurants don’t have nice outdoor seating, or any outdoor seating at all. It was everywhere when we lived in San Antonio. I miss it. Loved your post.
Thank you, Comingeast! I’d even sit outside in a broken old lawnchair on the curb, if the chicken salad was good enough.
Haha! This is SO true. Why did you get me jewelry when all I wanted was that chicken salad from down the street. In our neck of the woods the IT place to get chicken salad is the back of an antique store in a makeshift “tea room”. It’s hillbilly elegance, and- my God- it always hits the spot!
That sounds perfect. Those are the best places, hands-down. Fried chicken from the gas station, etc. And am digging the hillbilly elegance theme.
I never thought about this before, but you are so right! It is tough to find a really good chicken salad. I’ll now have to make this my quest here in San Diego.
You are such an excellent chef, I bet you could make a wicked batch of it!
I’m with Ryoko on this one…sounds like a tailor-made business opportunity for you, Reeling!
Now I’m hungry for chicken salad…
Hmmmm…will think about it as possibly a book-store/cafe/ chicken salad joint. Thanks, Wendy!
Now THAT sounds like a place I’d go. And I didn’t even think I liked chicken salad until I read your description of it! You are so right: “There is no stronger mode of communication than ‘word of southern women’s mouths.” Or any latitudenal-women’s mouths. If only people would just listen up to all our good ideas! 🙂
Isn’t that the truth, Melissa! And love the ‘latitudenal mouths!’ I think a new post on that concept, for sure!
Have you eaten the chicken salad at O Carr’s in B-ham? To. Die. For. Served with various yummy crackers and decked with umpteen kinds of fresh fruit. Makes me hungry just thinking about it. I wrote about it in this post:
OMG–that sounds exactly like true old southern chicken salad. I have an old friend from B-ham and that’s how she makes it.
Time for me to take a mini-trip–B-ham is only an hour and a half away…thanks M.E.N.!
Going to read your post right now, seeing as it’s after dinner and I won’t be starving!
I”m so envious! B-ham is only 1 1/2 hrs away from you and so is the most yummy chicken salad ever! Eat at O’Carr’s in Homewood (seriously, every single person in the place was eating chicken salad and I’m not exaggerating!) and then AFTER you’re full, go down the street to Savage’s Bakery. Oh, heaven! 😀
Sounds perfect, thank you!
Happy Kids Happy Mom wrote pretty much what I was thinking: I never really thought one way or another about chicken salad, but that recipe sounds great!
I think you should open a shop, too. And it would have to have a porch … with some rockers … or some tables so folks could sit outside.
ROCKERS–for sure! Maybe I could just sit and not have to get up and boil chicken! Thanks, Amiable!
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Really! i cam here thinking i would find out what Southern Women want and i got a chicken(soup) Sandwich! oh well off to another page 🙂
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