Kitchen Bitchen

Memorial Day Food Ideas!

Memorial Day Food Ideas!  

Hey there, did you know people used to call Memorial Day Decoration Day? It all started after the Civil War to honor fallen soldiers by decking out their graves with flowers. The inaugural Memorial Day celebration hit the scene in 1868.

General John A. Logan called for a National Day of Remembrance. Experts are still riding wave of discussions where this holiday came from. We do know that it now honors all American military personnel.

So, let’s grab our boards and paddle out, remembering those brave souls who gave their all. Memorial Day is more than just BBQs and beach vibes—it's a day to honor and celebrate our heroes!

The Evolution into Picnics and Barbecues

Family picnics and barbecues on Memorial Day have been a tradition since the late 1800s and early 1900s. As the holiday became more widely observed, communities began to incorporate various social activities. Parades, speeches, and dinners were common. Families visited cemeteries together, bringing picnic baskets with food to enjoy after ceremonies.

The rise of the automobile and the spread of suburban living in the mid-20th century further popularized outdoor gatherings. Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, when people open their pools, plan family trips, and start grilling. Barbecues became popular because they let families cook lots of food outside for gatherings.

The Culinary Traditions: Chicken Salad and Coleslaw

Two classic dishes that often make an appearance at Memorial Day picnics and barbecues are chicken salad and coleslaw. Here’s a look at their origins and a top recipe for each.

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad likely originated in the United States in the early 19th century. The first known recipe appeared in a 1824 Virginia cookbook. Your family will love this easy meal for leftover chicken.

Kitchen Switchen is all about keeping it simple. Try our favorite recipes this Memorial Day!  

Top Chicken Salad Recipe


  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lettuce leaves (optional for serving)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, mayonnaise, celery, red onion, pickle relish, and Dijon mustard.
  2. Mix the ingredients well until they are evenly coated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve chilled on a bed of lettuce or in sandwiches.


Coleslaw has European origins, with recipes dating back to Roman times. The term "coleslaw" comes from the Dutch word "koolsla," meaning "cabbage salad." Dutch settlers brought it to America in the 17th century. Now, it's a common food at picnics and barbecues.

Top Coleslaw Recipe


  • 1 small head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage and grated carrot.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrot mixture.
  4. Toss the vegetables until the dressing evenly coats them.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Essential Kitchen Gadgets for Making Chicken Salad and Coleslaw

Preparing chicken salad and coleslaw requires a few essential kitchen gadgets to ensure efficiency and consistency. Here’s a list of must-have tools for your culinary endeavors:

  1. Chef's Knife: A sharp chef’s knife is crucial for dicing chicken, chopping vegetables, and shredding cabbage. A good-quality knife ensures precise cuts and makes the preparation process smoother.
  2. Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board provides a stable surface for chopping ingredients. Opt for a large, non-slip board to accommodate all the veggies and chicken.
  3. Mixing Bowls: You need multiple mixing bowls to combine ingredients. Choose bowls of various sizes to handle different components of the recipes.
  4. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are key to balanced flavors. A set of measuring cups and spoons ensures you add the right amount of mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings.
  5. Grater: A grater is essential for shredding carrots for the coleslaw. A box grater with multiple grating sizes offers choices for different textures.
  6. Whisk: A whisk is a tool used for mixing dressings and sauces smoothly. It ensures even distribution of flavors in dishes like chicken salad and coleslaw.
  7. Salad Spinner: A salad spinner is handy for making coleslaw. It helps dry the shredded cabbage so the dressing isn't watery.
  8. Storage Containers: Airtight storage containers are ideal for chilling and storing your salads, keeping them fresh and flavorful.

These kitchen tools will help you make delicious chicken salad and coleslaw. They will improve your cooking skills and ensure that your meals turn out great every time.

Memorial Day is a time to connect with family and friends, honor memories, and be part of your community.

So, fire up those grills and lay out those picnic blankets! Dive into some scrumptious chicken salad and coleslaw to add a splash of flavor and joy to your Memorial Day bash. Whether you’re chilling on the sand or hanging in the backyard, these tasty treats will make your celebration a gnarly good time. Let's toast to our heroes and make waves with love, laughter, and lots of yummy eats!

When you’re finished with those gadgets, list for free on Kitchen Switchen Reseller Marketplace!  We can’t wait to meet you! 

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