April 22 is the birthday
of one Jack Nicholson. You might know
him. Starred ina few movies you might've
Like a lot of people, I
think Jack's been coasting of late. We
don't get a performance anymore as much
as we get "Jack," which has
become like "Cher" or "Liberace."
When was the last time you watched Nicholson
in a movie and thought, "Wow, he's
a great actor." Hell, I can't even
remember the last great Nicholson performance.
One of my favorite Nicholson
roles, though, is in a film that also
happens to contain a great Reel Food scene.
In Bob Raefelson's FIVE EASY PIECES, Nicholson
stars as an oil rigger who returns home
to visit his dying father. We learn along
the way that he'd once been a promising
During the flick, Bobby
(Nicholson) and others go to a diner where
he attempts to order an omelette with
plain toast. The waitress informs him
that she can't give him the plain toast
which leads to this classic exchange:
Bobby: I'd like an
omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich
on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter,
no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Waitress: A #2, chicken salad sand.
Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise,
and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to
do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast,
give me a check for the chicken salad
sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
Waitress: You want me to hold the
Bobby: I want you to hold it between
It's a classic early Nicholson
moment, one that would help define his
anti-establishment leading man persona.
Of course, now Jack's as close to the
establishment as you can get but so what,
In tribute to Jack I thought
I'd offer up a little chicken salad recipe
today, but not just from any cookbook.
It's from 'A Treasury of Great Recipes'
by Mary and Vincent Price. Though both
Price and Nicholson worked for Roger Corman's
AIP in the 1960s I don't believe they
ever worked together.
I recently picked up this
beautiful, signed copy of Price's famous
recipe collection at an area auction.
While I was walking around before bidding
got started I overheard that the book
and a few other items were
left over from the estate of somebody
named Hans Kramm who had been a chef for
higher ups in the Nazi party before he
moved to America and opened a restuarant
in the Maryland area. Crazy.
the recipe for Curried Chicken Salad
courtesy of Vincent Price...
Canned Chicken Consomme
Half a poached 5-pound chicken
is sufficient for this quantity of salad.
1. In mixing bowl combine:
2 cups diced cooked chicken (use the dark
meat for this, reserving the breast for
slicing), 1 apple, peeled and diced, 1
cup diced fresh pineapple, 1/4 cup white
raisins, 1/3 cup cut dates, 2 tablespoons
chopped chutney (including the syrup),
and 1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut.
2. Sprinkle with: 1/2 teaspoon
3. Simmer: 1 tablespoon
good curry powder in 2 tablespoons chicken
consomme for 2 minutes, stirring to a
4. Add curry paste to: 1
cup good mayonnaise* and stir into the
Pile the salad onto a chilled serving
plate on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves
and garnish with thinly sliced breast
of chicken and some chopped ginger from
jar of chutney. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup
shredded fresh coconut.
Individual servings of this
salad are attractive served in half a
*Vincent's recipe calls
for "1 cup good homemade mayonnaise"
but that's taking things too far.