We have a birthday potluck at work today, and the theme is Your Family Favorite. I've been in a major brain freeze over this for the last week or so. First, which family? The one you were born into or the one you married into? The one when there were kids at home? Or the one without?
Then, define favorite. Something that pleases everyone (the Numbers One and Two Sons would probably say chicken nuggets and Tater Tots) or something that sets your heart a 'singin the minute you smell its good smells wafting from the kitchen? Yes, yes. I know I'm overthinking this, but honest to pete, this assignment has consigned me to a seemingly permanent state of potluck paralysis.
Until yesterday morning. In the car. On my way to work.
On the first anniversary of her death, my late mother-in-law, Young Bob Flynn, reached out, gave me a little smack on the head and said, "Chicken divan, silly."
Chicken divan was one of Young Bob Flynn's go-to special occasion dishes. First of all, it was easy. Second, it fed a crowd. And third, for the woman who never met a can of cream of mushroom soup she didn't love, it called for two -- count 'em, two -- cans of this gelatinous gold.
Chicken divan was customizable for picky eaters. When YBF discovered our two boys regarded broccoli as a sworn enemy, her batches of chicken divan began appearing at the dinner table in a half corn, half broccoli version. Ah, the art of compromise.
No breadcrumbs for the topping? No problem. At one time or another, Young Bob Flynn employed crushed potato chips, crushed Wheat Thins or crushed Fritos. And the heavens sang.
So last night, honoring the life of a wonderful woman, I made chicken divan -- Paula Deen's recipe to be exact. Complete with two cans of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, sour cream and white wine.
Add a large pinch of love and you have