Jewish Penicillin

You guys.

Let’s talk about Christmas traditions. My family has several, including:

  • Getting the tree on Christmas Eve from the only tree stand still open (we got it for free one year and Dad’s been trying to replicate that victory ever since)
  • Getting samosas from the Indian grocery store next to said tree stand
  • Eating 7…or 4…or 5, or however many fishes we can manage on Christmas Eve (said samosas being the appetizers)
  • Stumbling downstairs early Christmas morn, wrapped up in our comforters, making the coffee, and 0pening our stockings before our parents wake up.

Sure, these are all more recent developments, but there’s one that has been going on for years now and doesn’t show any sign of letting up. The annual “LJ gets sick on his birthday” happening.

This year was no different, but the twist was that I woke up on Christmas morning with a sore throat and have been battling a cold ever since. A cold that was at first content to reside in my head, making me feel like I was walking around in one of those old timey scuba helmets. However, it now seems to be migrating into my chest, a most unwelcome development.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m unable to take decongestants any more? First, I should tell you that I didn’t have Nyquil til college. Momma Anna Mae would make a cup of hot tea and slather Vicks on our faces and MAYBE dole out some aspirin if we had a fever, but Nyquil? Never. And while I did employ Nyquil on a few occasions since that first night in the dorms, truthfully, I still prefer a hot toddy, heavy on the whiskey and honey. Until my last cold, when I took Nyquil before bed and woke up at 2am with a stuffy nose AND a face that was all itchy. Not cool, Nyquil, not cool. So now, apparently I might be allergic to decongestants (or maybe something else in Nyquil, but I’d rather not be all experimenty with stuff that will potentially knock me out before the anaphylactic shock kicks in).

Obviously, chicken soup is required to combat these terrible circumstances. I’m not a fan of Campbell’s, or any of the other soups in a can, and since Anna Mae is also getting sick and thus unable to drive down and make me soup…I’m on my own.

Luckily, Martha’s most recent issue had a recipe for a super basic chicken soup. I had glanced at it on Sunday night and it just sort of stuck with me. I figured I’d stop at DiBruno’s on the way home from work and get the necessary ingredients. I couldn’t find the recipe online, but didn’t think it couldn’t be more than chicken, carrots, onion and celery.

I didn’t feel like making soup from a whole chicken, so instead got two legs and a breast. Slightly foolish, as I could have bought the cheaper-per-pound whole chicken and broken it down, but pfft. I’m sick. I get a pass.

Plus, the above four ingredients were only $12 total.

When I got home, the chicken went into a pot with enough water to cover it and some salt. I brought it to a boil and skimmed the foam.

Aah, my ears just popped. Glorious.

Once the soup had boiled, I lowered it to a simmer, threw in the celery, onions and some smashed garlic cloves and covered it partially. A half hour later, I added the carrots. A half hour after that, I removed the chicken, shredded the meat, skimmed some of the fat off and then added the chicken back in.


Bam. Soup.

We’ll see if it helps. I really hope it does.

My ears keep popping. Is that good or bad?


December 29, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. Marisa replied:

    Nice soup! It’s also good with a squeeze of lemon juice (for added vitamin C and a touch of acid).

    • sarahdares replied:

      Oooh I never thought of a squeeze of lemon juice. That sounds divine. I still have some leftover AND finally replenished my lemon supply. Lunch!

  2. candace replied:

    No noodles? My mom always puts noodles in hers, but then she makes a Koreanafide version of chicken soup. I’m sick too, but in the exact opposite fashion as you, I only eat the canned soup when I’m sick, but apparently not when pregnant. Stupid hormones.

    • sarahdares replied:

      Please describe this Koreanafide version.

      And no, no noodles. I just wanted the broth and the veggies and the chicken.

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