With spring in the air, I found myself drifting into slightly lighter fair. One thing I find popular this time of the year is Chicken Salad. A quick search of recipes on any food site and you will find hundreds of variations. I have been working in the food service industry for near 20 years now and have made my fair share of chicken salad. While the ingredients you add to the chicken are important, the real key is the chicken itself. Start with quality chicken. This is your family you are feeding. Don't by factory raised, hormone fed birds. Spend more for the better quality and better tasting free range and hormone free chickens. Buy local birds, if possible, and get to know the source. I have often heard people say "Oh, it will just be wasted on my kids. Why waste the money." It's because of your kids that you should. . Give your children the purest food you can! OK, now that you have bought your birds, how to cook them becomes the next step.You can boil, smoke or bake your chicken, all good methods and each has a different result. My personal choice is boiling. Smoking is good, but I feel it limits my applications. Baking is fine but the chicken can lack flavor or even dry. By boiling I can add flavor to the chicken, it tends to be more moist and you have the by product of a quality stock. Another area of debate is white meat vs dark meat. All white meat chicken salad is good, but the flavor is really more about the ingredients you add not the chicken. By adding dark meat chicken you are getting a true chicken flavor, therefore, needing less ingredients to give it taste. On the next post we will explore how to boil that chicken. It may suprise you, but there is more to it than you think.