Some say it was first popular in Russia as chicken was their main food source. However according to the net chicken soup is still served as part of a Shabbat meal in most Jewish homes, at festivals and weddings and as a general cold weather pick-me-up.
There is even some medical evidence that suggests it is good for the system and in relation to colds it frees up mucus and makes for a quicker recovery.
Basically I put a whole chicken in my slow cooker (you can use a saucepan on the hob) I add a stock cubes and anything else I can find still edible in the kitchen – an onion, garlic, carrots, celery, a couple of tomatoes. I didn’t have an onion or celery so added a couple of shallots left hanging about from the allotment and a few mushrooms that were supposed to be heading for an omelette. I also put in a generous sprinkling of herbs, salt and pepper. Anyway cover with water and set on automatic.
My mother was very keen on Jewish chicken soup although we are not Jewish. She had worked in the fashion industry as a young women in the West End of London where many Jewish families lived and made their living as tailors.
My mother would bring her soup to the boil and leave it to simmer for about three hours on the hob. By then the stewed chicken would be uneatable unless you were starving, so she usually threw it away. But the resulting broth had all the goodness apparently.
Cool or leave overnight – scoop the fat off. These days you can pop it in fridge over night and scoop the fat off next day. I never seem to wait that long and eat some straight away. But then of course you can heat a bowlful as needed. I pop a cupful in the micro wave and eat it several times a day until I am really fed up with it.
Now this is great if you are on your own, you get nourished and nurture yourself with minimum effort.
In the old days there were fewer cold remedies and many people would not have had free access to a doctor either. How lucky we are today! The National Health Service started on 5 July 1948. Apparently the weather was awful, food was still rationed, there was an economic crisis and a shortage of fuel. I can barely remember those days but vaguely remember the Festival of Britain in 1951, which was the sign of economic recovery so we were led to believe.
My own personal cold remedy ideas are:
1. Breathing a pinch of old fashioned menthol crystals diluted in boiling water a couple of times a day.
2. A hot toddy of lemon, whisky and half a teaspoonful of honey.
3. A few bowls a day of Jewish mother’s chicken soup.
4. No news programmes – always far too depressing, no newspapers equally so. Try some poets or other interesting things on youtube to cheer yourself up, engage in a few bursts of new writing. It’s only a bad cold for goodness sake!
Images for inspiration –
I blogged a different version 2 years ago, but with just about everyone I know including myself with a cold/flu and it so hard to get rid of, a variation on a theme today.