can chicken soup save a soul?

A saint, a savior, a salve. In the past few weeks, Phil has stepped up his game. Or, wait. Perhaps it’s me, maybe I’ve simply been more appreciative. This past week, I’ve been sick in bed with a fever of 101 point something. 101.2, then 101.6. I tend to take my temperature every other minute or so, for accuracy? No. For obsession sake, to prove my sickness. (Also, I’ve had my period for the entire month. And for someone who’s supposedly post-menopausal at 37–pretending to be 42–, I need to call my Gynecologist to discuss. Just sayin’ hormones are a wee bit askew, or I’m ovulating again, or something).

Low of lows, when I managed an out of breath whine bark at Phil when he brought me matzo ball soup from the Deli King. “It’s fake,” I told him.
“What’s fake?”
“This isn’t real chicken soup. It’s too yellow. It’s chemicals. It’s bouillon. It’s missing the enzymes. Don’t you get it?! I can’t get better on fake chicken soup!”
“I have a chicken downstairs. I can cut some up and put it in.”
I then said “No” the way one might grumble “moron,” under my breath but decidedly heard.
“I’ll go add chicken.”
“Okay, how do you not get this?” I said after filling three snot tissue sandwiches. “I don’t like to eat the chicken. I just need the soup to be cooked with chicken, so the enzymes and crime fighters get in there into the soup itself. I want no part of noodles or fluorescent soup for the love of Christ. Just good nourishing broth.”

Know what he did? He went out and went to the grocery store and bought a box of chicken broth. You know, the kind you use to pour over stuffing before baking it, College Inn. STOCK. BROTH. He came upstairs with the box and read me the ingredients… skipping the bits he knew wouldn’t strengthen his case. He didn’t read the part about “Wheat Gluten Protein Hydrolyzed” or “Xanthan Gum” or “Monosodium Glutamate” also known as MSG, which is also known as Might Shorten Given Life. Instead he took care to read the marketing material: “A classic combination of plump chicken, tender veggies and just the right herbs and spices.” Yes, fine and fine, but you are not nursing me back to health with boxed broth, bro. I need me some carnosine compound. Commercial soups are fine, all for it. Just get me a good one.

“But I heard you. I listen when you talk. You said you wanted broth! So, I got you broth!”

The point of this post is to say one thing. I am a spectacular ass when I’m sick, and I don’t know how in the hell he puts up with me. I then carried on using phrases like, “minced words” and “too literal.” Made some half-spoken, groaned, “I’m too exhausted to chew, it should just disintegrate like a matzo ball, like celery stems and onions that have cooked too long… when I said broth, I meant, go to a place and have them strain out all the chicken and noodle and give me only a container of the liquid gold” explanations. I then caught myself and made only one last request, “Next time, when you buy tissues, can you buy a real brand? Something with aloe or some other micro lie? Because this cheapass Scott brand is harsh as… that is all.”

He drew me a bubble bath, did all the laundry, and when I returned to bed, my tissues were replenished, my bedside table cleared, outfit with tabloid magazines and Psychology Today. Best part: he’d changed all the sheets and pillowcases, and once I climbed into bed, he continued to make the bed with me in it. THAT is the best way anyone has ever taken care of me. To make the bed, fresh, with me in it. It’s something you can’t do for yourself. I asked for none of it, and I got it all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to no end.

He even changed the kids’ sheets. To which Abigail said, “Well, it’s about time, don’t ya think?” I am still sick, but I’m well enough to go out to buy my own matzo ball soup… and to perhaps tackle all the holiday returns, stripping down our poor little Leaning Tower of Pine. Maybe.



  1. Wow. Let me play the world’s smallest violin for you. I like a lot of what you write, that’s what keeps me coming back. But posts like this just remind make you sound like a petulant child who thinks the world revolves around them. I get the point of the post, you are appreciating what Phil does for you. Bravo. Do it more. Good Lord, the man deserves it.

  2. Ok, I’m sorry, but I’ve just gotta say….. any soup worth its soup-ness has been simmered for a while. Which means maintained at 100 degrees C, which will very effectively denature every single enzyme, rendering their enzymatic activity null and void.

    Not to say that fresh chicken soup isn’t healthier than preserved/highly processed, but it drives me batty when people talk about the enzymes in their food as anything other than a source of amino acids (protein).

    1. Author

      To be clear, I wasn’t just an ass but was talking out of it. I have no idea where I came up with the word “enzyme.” I think I meant only to refer to the healing properties associated with chicken soup in shortening the length of a cold. What I really meant was the whole “carnosine compound,” which I’ll need to commit to memory for the next time… cause I’m so good at modifying my behavior. Ahem.

  3. A sick woman with her hormones up the whop – a deadly combination. You’ve obviously got yourself a good guy there, even though you didnt know it. Write it all down and bring it out and reread it when you are busy thinking he is an ass.

  4. Hope you’re feeling better! And is there anywhere in Austin that has matzo ball soup? Never had it, but sounds like exactly what I need next time I’m sick….

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