Monday morning I went for an amazing bike ride; 12 miles in one hour. I felt great afterwards and especially after a dip in the pool. That evening, I read my book and enjoyed a martini (or two) on the porch as the sunset. It was a great day, and I felt wonderful. Until around 11pm, when my throat started feeling scratchy … and around 3am when I started coughing incessantly. I woke up Tuesday with a sore throat, stiff neck, and congested sinuses. I had gotten a cold.
I don’t know how this happens … one minute you feel great and the next, like crap. When I get sick, which is quite rare, I give myself one full day to mope and BE sick. After that full day, I make myself get up and do things, be productive. So on Tuesday I let myself BE sick. My husband brought home some cold medicine and canned chicken noodle soup, which was the only thing I ate that day.
I still wasn’t hungry on Wednesday, but I did feel better and I made myself get up and do things. And then I ran out of things that a sick person can reasonably do. Going for a bike ride was out of the question, so was putting my syllabus together. I thought about what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to do was to cook. But I wasn’t hungry. The only thing I thought I could eat was more chicken noodle soup, but my husband had only bought the one can. So I made it from scratch.
This was the first time I had ever made stock, and also the first time I had ever tried to cut up a chicken before cooking it, so I will spare you the pictures of that process. But I was surprised, after the stock got going, how easy it was.
I mean, you literally just boil a chicken in a lot of water, with an onion, lemon, and spices like garlic, bay leaves, and pepper.
Then remove all that chunky stuff from the stock, throw some sliced carrots and celery in while you cut up the meat, add the noodles then the meat. It’s surprisingly simple and so much better than canned.
I rarely had chicken noodle soup when I was sick as a child. If I did, it was from a can, the kind with the stringy noodles and teeny-tiny pieces of chicken. So, I don’t have any fond memories of this as a comfort food. But I do believe that old-fashioned remedies have a surprising amount of science hidden in them. Chicken stock supposedly contains a chemical that acts as a decongestant, and the warm, salty, slightly fatty broth soothes the throat. I don’t know all the science behind it, but I do know that I felt better enough on Thursday to go to the DMV to get my new Tennessee license and I didn’t need a cough drop all day and that today, Friday, I feel 90% like myself and even managed to run a 12-minute mile, the first time I’ve ever been able to run a mile without stopping. But I won’t chalk it all up to the soup … I also made chocolate-chip cookies, which make me feel better no matter what is wrong.