As we’re well into spring now, it can only mean one thing: Baseball season! And we can’t think of one “creature” who loves baseball more than our very own mascot and resident chicken: Willy T! He’ll be making his big league appearance at the PawSox game on May 29, and that means there’s lots to prepare for…after all, he’ll be throwing out the first pitch.
We know what you’re thinking: Can a chicken throw a baseball?? Paahlease! Take a look at this…
Well, it’s true– the chicken pie DID come before the chicken salad in our book, but today we’re taking things back to the origin of chicken salad. Hey, it’s one of our namesake products, and let us ask you this: While you’re enjoying a delicious chicken salad sandwich, have you ever considered ‘who was the genius who thought this up?’
Okay, we know who the genius was behind our chicken salad (do you??), but we mean the person who first mixed together a mayonnaise-like substance with cold chicken and spices only to discover it made for a killer combination.
It turns out, there’s no one person responsible, but we can thank the Chinese for being the first to serve variations of “chicken salad.” Of course, these versions were far from what we are familiar with today, but the general idea was pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils, always tied together by a binding substance.
Jump to 1863 in U.S. history, and the first American version of chicken salad was served at Town Meats, just down the road in Wakefield, RI. The founder of Town Meats, Liam Gray, mixed his leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. The result? A huge hit. So huge, in fact, that the item became so popular that the meat market was turned into a delicatessen, and the business was still operating up until a couple years ago.
So that’s that. After another 100 years or so the Willow Tree version came along, and the rest, as they say, is history…