Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sara Leah Chase: Nantucket Serendipity 3 – Cranberry or Curried . . .

Sarah Leah Chase

Cranberry or Curried . . .

When I ran my Que Sera Sarah specialty food shop on the island, I used to make and sell 20 to 30 pounds of chicken salad every day. At times, I felt as if my life revolved around poaching seemingly endless 10-pound bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This sad realization, in and of itself, was a motivating factor in my deciding to leave the day-to-day food business at the end of the 1980’s. On the cold and snowy day back in the winter of 1989 when I joyfully signed an agreement to sell my shop’s concept and equipment, I distinctly remember thinking I would never again make or eat chicken salad.

I was wrong. I soon came to realize that a well-made chicken salad is the culinary equivalent to the fashion world’s little black dress. Chicken salad will always be in style and will always be something I continue to crave year-round. For years I went back to making my shop’s tried-and-true Chicken and Grape Salad for my own pleasure and then my family’s enjoyment at least once a month . . . that was until I discovered the Cranberry Chicken Salad at Cowboy’s Meat Market in Bayberry Court. Frankly, I consider myself somewhat of a chicken salad snob, and I can honestly rave that Cowboy’s blend of tons of perfectly cooked Bell & Evans white meat chicken, plump ruby red dried cranberries, the faintest crunch of celery, and perfect amount of creamy mayonnaise, is fabulous!

I happened to mention my love of this Cranberry Chicken Salad to Gene Mahon as a potential Serendipity topic and he immediately confessed to being far more partial to Cowboy’s Curried Chicken Salad, saying it tastes like “candy.” Of course, I instantly went out and purchased a pint of the hitherto overlooked Curried blend. This Curried variation is laden with the same plethora of premium Bell & Evans white meat chicken and is further enlivened with hot but not-too-hot curry powder balanced by the candy-like sweetness of both red and green grapes and golden raisins. It is indeed one of the best curried chicken salads I have ever tasted.

Now this begs the question of whether the Cranberry Chicken Salad is preferable to the Curried Chicken Salad, reminiscent of the way it was once popular to ask certain men whether they wore boxers or briefs. While Bill Clinton may have given the most famous reply as President, I am opting to defer to Conan O’Brien (since we may not be hearing much from him over the next three years), who once told People magazine: “I like to wear briefs over the boxers.” Embrace the metaphor and treat yourself to a pint apiece of Cranberry and Curried Chicken Salad at Cowboy’s, and don’t overlook the Fully Loaded Potato Salad, if it happens to be in stock next to the chicken salads. All of Cowboy’s salads are a bit pricey at $10.99 per pound, but most definitely worth the splurge.

Serendipity was conceived by Sarah Leah Chase as an occasional blog-like addition to Mahon About Town to shed positive and enthusiastic light on culinary pleasures and surprises encountered during day-to-day, off-season island living. Sarah is a cookbook writer, culinary consultant, and longtime columnist for the Inquirer & Mirror.


Nantucket Roadside Art


Matt Oates has been collecting weed whackers for awhile now, always with a plan.



Matt is known as the bird house guy. He’s built several hundred birdhouses from scrap wood, and put them up all over the island. You’ve probably passed his house and caught a glimpse of some of his earlier sculpture at 113 Hummock Pond Road.


In early January, he began his latest project, sculptures made from found objects, mostly from the landfill.


Matt began with the vacuum cleaner, and building upon that idea, a week or so later he had completed his exhibition. Why the vacuum cleaner? “Humans overwhelmed by nature are always trying to clean it up. Technology is empty and hollow, and nature will always bite us in the butt.”


Then some mosquitos.


No telling how long it will be up, so check it out if you haven’t been out that way in a while. More photos here.

Nantucket Film Festival Update

“The Hurt Locker”, “The Messenger”, and “The Cove”, all of which screened at the 2009 Nantucket Film festival, have collectively garnered 12 Academy Award nominations.

The 15th Annual Nantucket Film Festival will take place from June 17-20, 2010. Patron passes purchased before March 15 will receive a 10% discount.

Last year the NFF presented 40 feature and short films, and honored screenwriter Harold Ramis. Celebrities included Ben Stiller, Meg Ryan, Ben Foster, Brain Williams, Kathryn Bigelow, Cheryl Hines, Paul Giamatti, Fisher Stevens, Peter & Bobby Farrelly, Lily Taylor, Chris Matthews, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, and John Hamburg.

The NFF Best Screenwriting in a Feature Film last year was awarded to “The Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal; the Audience Award for Best Feature and for Best Storytelling in a Documentary Feature went to “The Cove”.

At the American Cinema Editors’ annual ACE Eddie awards, “The Hurt Locker” won Best Edited Feature – Dramatic (Bob Murawski, Chris Innis), and “The Cove” won Best Edited Documentary (Geoffrey Richman).

The deadline for submissions to the 2010 Nantucket Film Festival is March 12.

Other alumni of previous festivals:

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal at Morning Coffee at the 2009 NFF. Photo by Gene Mahon.

“The Hurt Locker” (2009)
Nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Jeremy Renner), Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal)

“The Messenger” (2009)
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Woody Harrelson), Best Original Screenplay (Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)

“The Cove” (2009)
Nominated for Best Documentary Feaure
– Screened at NFF 2009. By the way, “The Cove” finally has distribution in Japan, with a release date of April 2010. The film chronicles the annual Dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Local fisherman had threatened legal action when the film first appeared in the 2009 Tokyo Film Festival.

Lee Daniels (2007)
Nominated for Best Director and Best Picture, “Precious: Based on the Novel ÔPushÕ by Sapphire”
Ð Juror, Writer/Director Award, NFF 2007

Jason Reitman (2000-2001)
Nominated for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (co-written with Sheldon Turner), and Best Picture, “Up in the Air”

Stanley Tucci (2001)
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, “The Lovely Bones”. Juror, Tony Cox Showtime Screenwriting Award.


Dedicated to the belief that at the heart of every great film is a talented writer with a great story, with the help of professional readers, the NFF is now offering constructive evaluations of your script’s structure and marketability. You can learn what does and doesn’t work before your screenplay reaches an executive’s desk. The analysis includes a log-line to describe your story; genre suggestion; scores on story structure, plot development, character development, dialogue, marketability, and originality; evaluation of the script’s strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

The Script Analysis service is available to applicants of Showtime’s Tony Cox Award Screenplay Competition for an additional $125. Apply online


Tresses and the Day Spa

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Retail Changes on Nantucket

Here’s a summary of the retail changes from 2009 to 2010 – in ownership and location, including those going out of business. I’ll update as more information comes in. If you know of any additional changes, please let me know. (I’ll verify your tips before printing.)

Nantucket Seaside Shakespeare Unvalentine Cabaret

The Seaside Shakespeare’s 3rd Annual Unvalentine Cabaret took place on February 13, 2010 at the Chicken Box. Today’s issue focuses on the patrons, and the next issue will show the performers. Photos by Gene Mahon.

Cabaret 2

Brass Lantern Inn

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Cabaret 3

Nantucket Headlines

Headlines from local publications, and links to the full story. Sources: Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket Independent, PlumTV, Yesterday’s Island, Cape Cod Times, and other pertinent sources.

Park-and-ride to the docks (Nantucket Independent)

Main Street: Past and Present (Inquirer and Mirror)

Planning Board unanimously approves
smaller Dreamland Theater
(Nantucket Independent)

Former Olympian A.J. Mleczko featured as commentator in Vancouver (Inquirer and Mirror)

Harnishfeger named Photographer of the Year (Inquirer and Mirror)

Nantucket Junior Miss Georgina Morley to compete for state title (Nantucket Independent)

Tamzin Hutchinson In The Studio (Nantucket Independent)

John DelMastro In The Studio (Nantucket Independent)

Foreclosures hit highest levels in over a decade (Inquirer and Mirror)

Maria Mitchell collaborating with Harvard to protect collection (Nantucket Independent)

Feds carve out ocean area for wind farms (Nantucket Independent)

Bay scallops threatened by algae in harbor (Nantucket Independent)

Scallops abundant, but fishermen report shortage of seed (Nantucket Independent)


Kopko announces run for sheriff (Inquirer and Mirror)

Field set for April town election (Inquirer and Mirror)