The Sacred Thing About Food

My mom used to make chicken soup when I was a kid. I liked her soup, but soup itself was never my favorite meal — there’s something about a dish where all the flavors blend together, dulling one another down just enough to lack satisfaction. Plus, I dislike the feeling of liquid sloshing around in my belly.

She’d use half a chicken (or were those parts of a turkey?) in the soup, leaving the bones in, and when I lifted a bone from the broth the pieces of meat would slide right off, splashing back into the bowl. I’d dunk slices of homemade, buttered bread into the liquid — that was the best part.

I still today don’t love soup. I would rather enjoy the ingredients separately, where I can savor each flavor and texture in its entirety. However, when I’m feeling ill—like I’ve been this week—soup is the one thing I crave.

I made this soup tonight, first sautéing a frozen vegetable stir-fry mix, then adding soy sauce and garlic and ginger, then @anniechunsinc organic noodles, then a carton of free-range chicken broth. I felt better as soon as I I had the first warm spoonful. I don’t know if it’s the soup that’s healing, or the associated memories and nostalgia. Isn’t that the sacred thing about food, everything that it holds for us?