During the winter months, we like to make at least one big pot of chicken noodle soup. Call it comfort food while we wait for the blustery winter winds to morph into warm summer breezes.
Soup takes time and plenty of patience to put together. Let’s face it, time hasn’t exactly been my companion since The Outdoors Guy’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in May of 2015, plus the stroke he suffered on Sept. 2 last year. Consequently, making soup has not been on my radar.
A quote from Laurie Colwin expresses a universal feeling about soup: “To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”
And, in Mr. Outdoors’ case, a barrel of crackers!!!
So, last week I was finally ready to pull out my 11-quart stock pot, roll up my sleeves and get busy putting together a mid-winter treat.
The day before, I put the chicken breasts in water, simmering them for one hour while skimming off any foam rising to the top. Then, I removed the chicken from the broth. After it had cooled enough to handle, I pulled away the skin and bones and popped the chicken in the fridge until the next day. I also chilled the broth overnight, skimming off the fat the next morning.
So far, so good. Right? Check!
The next day, Bob sliced carrots and chopped celery. I began to heat the broth, cut up the chicken, stir in the seasonings and add a frozen bag of chopped onions left over from when we made chili earlier this winter.
We were simmering along when The Outdoors Guy took a break to check his website.
Meanwhile, I measured the noodles and set them aside, ready to go when the water in the 5-quart Corning dish reached the boiling point.
As I turned to check the stock and vegies, my elbow slammed into the bowl of noodles. The bowl went flying from the counter, tumbling over as the 4 cups of noodles left the bowl and also took flight, not only across the kitchen floor, but also into the dining room. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Noodles here...noodles there…noodles, noodles...EVERYWHERE!!!
Bob heard my cry of despair as I turned down the heat on the almost-boiling water. He came racing in from the study.
“I accidentally hit the bowl with my elbow when I turned around.”
“It looks like you hit a few hundred home runs in one swing,” he joked. “I’ll get the broom and dust pan.”
“Thank goodness they were dry and not cooked,” I commented.
“Yup, there’s always a silver lining,” he added.
A quick check in the pantry provided another silver lining because we had just enough noodles to replace what had spilled. Whew! Problem solved.
The new batch of noodles was cooked, rinsed and drained. The empty Corning dish was in one side of the sink. Immediately after I lifted the strainer containing the noodles from the other side of the sink to add to the soup…KA BANG!!!
Jumping about a foot, I peered into the sink to see the Corning dish had burst apart and looked quite pathetic as it was now in three pieces instead of one.
The Outdoors Guy was just a few feet away. “What the heck was that,” he hollered as he looked into the sink.
I wondered how many times in how many years I used that dish to cook noodles and make numerous other recipes. And, like always, putting hot water in it to soak. We decided it must have been it’s time.
“Another silver lining,” I added. “The dish didn’t explode on the range!!!”
With that, we looked at each other wide-eyed!!! I told him, “I don’t even want to think about what a mess that would have been!!!”
Cleanup wasn’t exactly a breeze, either. I cut my finger on an edge of the broken dish as I put it in the trash!!! AARRGGHHH!!!
I told Bob, “Now remind me of why we haven’t made soup for almost three years!!!”
“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.” Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’
Ha! My spirits were never lifted so high as when I was finally able to declare, “SOUP'S ON!!!”