King Daddy’s love of Mustard Chicken

Mustard Chicken

I cannot discuss Mustard Chicken without giving you a little background on Reno, where I found the recipe. If you want the recipe, just scroll on down. But we are heading down Memory Lane, my friends. Come along, will you?

It was wild living in Reno. I moved there from the Bible Belt to (eventually) marry King Daddy, sort of like a mail-order bride but not. Despite my intense devotion to the South, Reno may be the best place I ever lived. The first week I was there I went into a grocery store and noticed that not only was there a wine section, completely (and to this day) unheard of in parts of the South, but there was a spirits section and a little gray-haired lady was giving out martini samples. Why, yes, I’d love a martini sample!

We lived in an apartment for a year and would do our laundry at the Duds and Suds, complete with a bar and slot machines. These people in Reno have no shame. I just loved that about them. Because we were both in the media, we would get invited to fancy casino parties with obscenely large shrimp cocktails, prime-rib carving stations, unlimited bar privileges and closed circuit boxing matches.

And many of my favorite people lived in Reno. There was the millionaire newspaper magnate who literally lived in a chicken coop as a child, wore the same $10 wedding ring for more than 40 years and essentially paid for our honeymoon in Hawaii just because he knew how broke we were (by the way, I did not ask him to do this – he just walked up to me in the smoking section at the paper and gave me a $2,000 check). He took me around and introduced me to important people, not because he had a need to impress me but because it was the nice thing to do. Rollie Melton was, above all else, a nice guy. He lost a lot of weight at one point and his $10 wedding ring disappeared down a sink drain at one of the casinos. He cried.

There was the newspaper columnist who caused me untold headaches as his boss at the Gazette-Journal. He just pissed off everyone. I liked that. One time, Cory wrote something bad about a hot dog place and the owner angrily demanded a meeting with us. The hot dog guy was a rotund 5-foot-3. Cory was a lean 6-foot-4 or so. Cory sat next to this guy in my closed-door office, his knees grazing the edge of my desk we were in such tight quarters. And he just took it. And I wanted to say to the hot dog guy: “First of all, your hot dogs suck. Second of all, you’re sitting next to a former Green Beret who could – at any moment given the slightest whim – rip your lungs out through your nose.”

There was the district court judge who also refereed many of the high-dollar boxing matches we watched while eating our shrimp cocktail. His name is Mills Lane and his famous sassy instructions to heavy weights was: “Let’s get it on!” He was a Georgia boy who also embraced Reno. He officiated at the wedding of a friend of King Daddy’s in a hotel conference room. After pronouncing the groom and bride as husband and wife, I believe he yelled, “Let’s get it on!” He had no pretense.

People in Reno were and are originals.  It’s a city where – old or new – you are embraced if you just love the city back. Which I did with a great passion that exists to this day. So if any of you are Reno mockers, you just let me know and I’ll set you up a little meeting with Cory.

Mustard chicken King DaddyBut I digress in a major way and I sincerely apologize. Mustard chicken. Far and away King Daddy’s favorite meal. New to Reno, anxious to impress my soon-to-be husband and insanely fearful about never finding a job there, I spent a lot of time checking out free cookbooks at the library. And I found Mustard Chicken in a Bed and Breakfast cookbook. I don’t remember the author but I know it wasn’t called Mustard Chicken. But I have been making it on Oct. 23 for 24 straight years and I will now claim it as my own. Like any good Southern recipe, it has only four ingredients: chicken, sour cream, Dijon mustard and honey. It is imperative that you serve it with buttered egg noodles.

Here’s to the pirates, the renegades and the oddballs – many of whom I met and became friends with in Reno. Life is so much more interesting when you hang out with the right crowd.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Mustard Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 thin chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounce sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and sauté them in the oil until both sides are beginning to brown and the chicken is cooked through. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Drain any excess oil from the pan and add the sour cream, mustard and honey. Blend and add the chicken back in the pan along with any juices that may have accumulated.


  1. Candy Gourlay
    October 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    What a wonderful digression! Now I not only want to cook mustard chicken but I want to go to Reno! I’ll need a guide though … hope you’re available!

  2. Marilyn Melton
    Marilyn MeltonReply
    October 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you for the lovely letter from the flaming red head who lead Rollie kicking and screaming from the manual typewriter to the computer keyboard. It never really took but he really tried because he admired you so much. –MM

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      October 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      You and Rollie could not have been nicer and more welcoming to the Mayhews when we moved to Reno. You set the standard for hospitality (and we Southerners value that above all else) and you set the bar extremely high.

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