You think it would be easy, right?
Technically, I’m sure I could manage it. Key ingredients? Chicken. Chicken stock or broth. Maybe some noodles. Carrots. Potatoes? Onions. Salt (to taste). Pepper (to taste, but not too much, this is not about spicy). If I were clever, a little flour, water, and sugar, there come dumplings. Put all in a dutch oven or stock pot, turn on the stove, let it go to work.
But, that’s a technical description of a standard recipe of a thing that I have never made.
If you ask me how to do pasta bolognese? Easy. Apple cider pork shops? Boom. Pan-frying the steak I have coming to room temperature on the counter right now? Consider it done. But chicken soup?
No, I’ve never made that. I never had to because that’s something my mom would make for me if I were sick, but:
- Even when I lived 20 feet away from her, I never admitted when I was sick (I hated being coddled)
- I don’t like soup
- I’ve never had to make it for anyone else, for who would let me care for them?
And yet, I am sick right now, mostly over it, and even though I still don’t like soup, I was floored by the fact that I don’t know how to make it.
Chicken soup is one of those things that represents more than the sum of its ingredients. It stands in for health and family and care. It is a big pot of get-better-ness, a big pot of something-ness, a big pot of you-matter-ness… and I keenly miss this thing I rarely ever partake of, or want to partake of, because it is clear to me that, at least in this immediate space, I am on my own.
I need to care for myself.
And maybe I don’t know how?
(That’s not entirely true. I do know how. I know how to go to the doctor. I know how to drink my NyQuil and DayQuil and to not have wine with my antibiotics. I know how to turn down invitations and stay home and rest, even if I ‘feel better’ because that is a false-positive. I know how to take care of myself.)
But whereas before I did, I also had an easy escape hatch to not doing so. Now, I don’t. It went from an optional thing to a must-do.
I don’t hate, no, but it has made one thing glaringly obvious: I probably should learn how to make chicken soup.
It may come in handy one day for me to make for myself. Or for someone else. Who knows what lurks around the corner of the next moment? It seems reasonable to be prepared.
And to be able to stick a chicken into a pot and made some goodness out of it.