Feb 28, 2010

Divine divan?

I haven't had Chicken Divan in years. In fact, the first time I had it was probably the first, last and only time. My brief introduction to this dish is due to some good friends from our days in Tulsa who moved away about the same time we did. As I search for different recipes to put on my weekly menu, for some reason Nancy's chicken divan came to mind, along with a happy memory of her great hostess skills.

So we're giving it a shot today. Being a part-time etymology geek, it also made me wonder why it was thusly named, and so I went hunting for clues. Apparently the dish got its name from a New York City restaurant of the mid-1950s; the Divan Parisien Restaurant. (And it's pronounced dee-VAHN, in case anyone else was wondering.) The Paula Deen version is the "easy" version, relying on a cream soup base, but other versions are truer to its French aspirations, and use a white sauce with flour, butter, chicken broth, milk and sherry, with heavy cream whipped and gently folded in just before pouring over the chicken and broccoli. (Sounds...well....divine, doesn't it?)

In other news, my new square Fiesta dinner and salad plates are on their way. I hope they arrive in time to use them on Friday night, when I'm hosting a little post-birthday soiree for my husband and his sister, whose birthdays are one year and two days apart. (Still don't know how their mama did it, but my hat is off to her. Maybe the desserts should include HER favorite birthday cake, too?)

Today our 3rd graders finished our six-month study of the book of Acts, which we celebrated with milk, juice and Krispy Kreme donuts, then an Olympic-style rubber duck "marathon" where the kids teamed up to answer Acts trivia questions in order to move their ducks ahead. Every year, I am amazed and humbled by how much these kids learn and remember from week to week.

Since our "wrap party" coincided with the closing of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, I gave each of them an Olympic-style medal, which they were proudly sporting during worship. (Another reason I love, love, LOVE teaching 3rd graders: the blissful lack of jaded cynicism that will afflict them soon enough. Plus, they're still shorter than me.) I owe a big debt of thanks to my two wonderful co-teachers, and so their families will be coming over for a meal in a couple weeks. Hopefully by then our weather will be showing signs of spring, because this extra-long winter is starting to wear on us all.