That Magic Chicken Soup

Minnie doesn't like the rain
A rainy day outside and in

My mother taught me how to make chicken soup, kinda.  I don’t remember her specifically showing me how to make chicken soup, but because of the other recipes she’s shared with me, I’m sure it went something like this…   Put some chicken in a pot of water, (usually the left over stuff, after you’ve taken the breast, thighs and wings off, which leaves the legs, and carcass) cut up some carrots, onions, celery, add some salt, and if it still needs something a bullion cube or two,  then cook it till it’s done.  I’m sure this is fine if you’ve been making chicken soup for 40 years, but for someone like me,  the measurement “some” isn’t very helpful.  Over the years, I’ve made some good chicken soup and some really bad chicken soup (meaning it’s tastes like warm water).  I finally gave up on it and found those freeze dried soups in the cardboard cup that you add boiling water to, is easier to make and tastes better.

But this afternoon, for the first time since I’ve known Jon, he’s the kind of sick that makes you sleep all day and makes it hard to eat or drink and makes your whole body ache being cold one minute and hot the next.   The kind of sick that has kept Jon from even thinking about blogging or taking a photo.

I gave him lots of tea, but I knew he needed chicken soup.  And not the kind that you buy in the store, it had to be homemade, by me.    So I thought about everything my mother taught me about making chicken soup and took the vagueness of her directions to heart.   I found an onion a $10 freerange, organic frozen chicken breast, and some spinach at the Co-Op.  I threw all of it and some carrots and kale that we had in the fridge in a big pot of water.   I added salt and let it cook.  After about an hour or so it still didn’t taste like anything, so I tossed in some more salt then opened the spice drawer.  A little of this and a lot of that, ( I have no idea what I threw in the pot)  and let it cook some more.  At about 7 o’clock  Jon opened his eyes for the first time in hours.  “Would you like some chicken soup?” I asked him.  He ate it slowly and at one point said it tasted like his Grandmother’s soup.  When it comes to most things, I prefer not to be compared to Jon’s grandmother, but when it comes to chicken soup and it’s ability to make Jon feel better…. Well, I take it as the greatest compliment.

And I guess I really have to thank my mother too, for leaving her recipe so open to interpretation.  There’s more than one way to make chicken soup.  Now lets see if my chicken soup can work it’s magic.  We’ll all know Jon’s better when he’s at his computer blogging and posting his latest photo.

15 thoughts on “That Magic Chicken Soup

  1. Funny you should post about chicken soup, Maria…I’ve been thinking about chicken soup all day – it’s Maurice Sendak’s birthday, after all, and I have the words to his book floating through my head. The best chicken soup is the kind you put together for Jon….some basic ingredients, whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand, this and that from the spice drawer and garden pot…and love. That’s it! Hope he feels better soon…

  2. I bet your soup is the best thing Jon could have right now. Poor guy. I hate it when my husband gets sick. Men are so pitiful when they’re sick. But when we can do something as (almost) simple as chicken soup for them, it just makes it all better. Hope he’s up and running soon.

  3. love this post — funny and sweet — glad you’re taking care of our writer — wish I could be there for your open house — it’s gonna be a riot and people will love it 🙂

  4. I hope Jon gets well real soon. No fun being sick on one’s anniversary. I love crockpots for making chicken soup, or stew. Chicken soup is well, Jewish penicillin! Can’t go wrong with it. I like throwing a hot pepper in with what I make for myself then adding free range chicken I’ve bought from a local farmer. Something I discovered that was great for the immunity is to ferment vegetables like organic red cabbage with whole garlic cloves and hot peppers.

  5. That magic chicken soup will do wonders! how sweet of you to make it for Jon…wishes for a quick get well, and of course a very special Happy Anniversary to you both, despite the fever. The book foto is a beautiful and revealing portrait of the two of you,
    all the best………………

  6. I was so sorry to see that Jon is under the weather, and that your original anniversary plans had to be changed. It is a tribute to your character that you took on the hotel/restaurant manager and won. Bravo!
    Better yet, I am thrilled that you made chicken soup. It is the best thing for what ails you. I always add fresh dill at the end which really enhances the flavor. Your description of your mother’s recipe is similar to all of my grandmother’s recipes. She always said to add “a pinch of this” or “a little of that.” All my life I have wondered what a “pinch” is. After all we might all have different pinches. I never know how much a pinch is, and if my grandma’s pinch was different than mine. I have, however, been led to believe that the best of cooks use “a pinch” or “a little.”
    You mentioned putting in a bullion cube. I used to do that, but now I throw in a box of Swanson’s fat free, low salt chicken broth which also adds to the flavor. And, except for onions, parsley, a little garlic, and celery, I add the rest of my veggies at the end. I love to make soup, especially chicken soup. Yours must have been wonderful especially if Jon is writing at the computer now. I guess the real secret ingredient to any soup is the love with which it is made.
    Please tell Jon to feel better soon and give Red and Lenore extra pats for being such good companions when their person is under the weather.
    Stay healthy yourself.

  7. Maria, I love how you advocated for yourself (Jon) and confronted that rude manager. Wow, you go girl! You are truly amazing!

    Dogs like Red are especially sensitive. My BC female will get real close if I have a migraine. She watches over me like an angel. Fermented stuff is very potent. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Hot peppers are great no matter what but probably better tolerated when they are fermented.

  8. Hi Maria —
    I’m sure Jon felt better having your LOVE soup. I just need to share my thoughts with you — they are nagging, and I can’t shake it. If Jon continues to have these flu-like symptoms, I wonder if it would be a good idea for him to get checked for Lyme Disease.

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