I can't even remember now where I got this recipe, it must've been from a person, because it is neatly copied on one of my beautiful 4x6 recipe cards for a set that included a recipe box with matching cards that I received as a gift back when I and my family was young. Most of my recipes are torn from magazines, cut from a newspaper, scribbled on random bits of paper, or typed by friends or acquaintances, printed out from Food Network or Epicurious. A recipe had to be really special in order for me to use one of the 50 cards that came with my set, and it had to be something that I was sure would be a permanent addition to my culinary reperatoire.
This recipe is everything a recipe should be - delicious, light, healthy, easy to make, filled with complex, swett-hot flavors and very portable! In fact, I made this Szechwan Chicken Salad several times when I needed to take something to a pot luck and there were never leftovers. Everyone in my family loved it and were always suggesting it, particularly during the dog days of Tidewater summer!
There was nothing unusual on a day, so long ago, when I made a big double batch of this salad. The weather was going to be warm, lending itself to a light salad, and I was planning to take any leftovers for lunch at work in the next week. I had just placed the covered bowl of salad in the fridge when we got a call from the hospital that my husband's father was near death. The Colonel, as he was affectionately (and respectfully) called by all, was an incredible man, with a sharp memory and a knowledge for world history that would have shamed any history professor 4 decades his junior. He had served in three branches of the service during his military career, had served in the esteemed 1st City Troop, and danced with Lucy Mercer in the Roosevelt White House as a young officer. He was full of stories for anyone who would listen, and since most of his family had heard them all (multiple times) , as the newest daughter-in-law, I was a welcome audience. As our family grew, he was a doting grandfather with all of the grandchildren, bouncing them on his knee to the tune of "Gary Owen". The older Dowd grandchildren remember to this day their "Grandpapa" blowing the bugle. He was always an ally to a grandchild who wanted an extra dessert or to stay up past bedtime. A man who was sometimes remembered as stern by his own children, was a marshmallow to his grandchildren.
I will never forget the first time that I met him. It wasn't long after the movie Patton had come out. My father-in-law, who was at that time the Superintendent of the Winchester National Cemetary, was strolling among the headstones and when he turned around, I thought I was dating the son of George C. Scott!! He had the bearing and demeanor (and the posture) of a career military officer. You could imagine that he cut a dashing figure in his younger years (and he delighted in telling you so!).
3/4 tsp hot pepper sauce, adjust to taste