♦ For the Soul

Dear Shaina,

It’s not actually homesickness that you are experiencing…it’s “child/youth sickness.”   Saying goodbye to unscheduled days, no weighty responsibilities and endless hours of possibilities, adventures and “whatever-you-want-to-dos” is a real world adult reality check that doesn’t go down easy. I feel your pain.   I don’t think I even realized the depth of my “youth sickness” until I retired and reclaimed the pleasures of empty days. But working has its rewards too, which are probably difficult for you to appreciate right now.  It’s actually those stresses and responsibilities that lead us in search of those carefree summer days and allow us to embrace them.

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So, enjoy your misery and indulge in all the “summer days” that come your way!  And, of course, you can always come home and Dad will make you a tomato sandwich and I will make you okra.

Not that you need us or Alabama to reclaim your youth. You do have an absolute gift for creating  “home” wherever you are.  Food and friends are pretty darned good ways of doing it and I absolutely love hearing about how you bring all the elements of your life together.

In the meantime, Dad and I are living the permanent summer vacation life (I don’t mean to rub it in).  I even got Dad to take a yoga class on our New England trip and now he’s hooked.  It’s gentle yoga, of course, but yoga nevertheless.

Dad and I are so happy that you are coming home for the holidays and especially looking forward to the few days we’ll spend together living in our bathing suits at the beach right before. Since I will only be home for two days before Rosh Ha Shana, I decided that I better start cooking now before we leave for Portland (the next leg on our permanent vacation) or I will be a crazy person trying to get everything done in a day.

So I have been making chicken soup … Lots of Chicken Soup… enough to feed family, friends and family of friends…and anyone else who ends up at our house after temple. It really freezes well and I have the messiest part of the preparation done.  I know my Chicken Soup recipe is not as exotic as some of your veggie creations, but it is a basic and even a die-hard vegetarian ought to know how to make a good Chicken Soup. This is Bubbe’s method. She was very meticulous about her Chicken Soup and it was the best…so once again, I continue to try and perfect it.

Don’t worry, I’ll prepare the veggie version for you…with matzoh balls, of course!
Love and see you soon,
Mom

Xoxoxoxoxoox

Bubbe’s Chicken Soup

  • 1 Whole Roasting Chicken
  • 1 Large Onion, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 3 Large Carrots, peeled and cut in 2 inch chunks
  • 2 Large Stalks of Celery cut to fit in pot
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Dill, optional

Wash chicken thoroughly in cold water.  Leave skin and fat on the chicken.  Place whole chicken in a soup pot and fill with just enough water to barely cover the chicken.*  Bring water with chicken to a full boil.  A foamy residue will form on the surface. Skim the foam off the water and discard.  Once all foamy residue has been removed, turn heat down and add cut vegetables and salt to pot.  Cook covered at a low heat until chicken begins to separate from bone.

Remove chicken from soup and debone. Put chicken in a separate dish to be added back to soup when serving or it can be made into delicious chicken salad or just eaten for dinner.

Remove carrots from soup and place in a separate bowl to be added back to soup when serving. Refrigerate.

Strain the remainder of the soup. Cooked onions and celery may be eaten if you like them or discarded.  Put strained soup in a pot or storage container and cool overnight in the refrigerator.  When completely cooled, you can skim the fat off the top of soup or you can leave it if you want a richer soup.  I always skim the fat and it is still delicious.  This skimmed chicken fat (schmaltz) may be used in cooking or discarded.  At this point, soup can be heated and served as a clear soup or with carrots and chicken pieces added.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper and add dill if you like.

If you plan on freezing the soup, it freezes well as a clear soup, skimmed or unskimmed (can be skimmed when defrosted) or with the carrots and some chicken pieces.

This easy traditional soup has been enjoyed by generations of families throughout the world. In our home, it is generally served with matzah balls and part of many holiday celebrations.  It is the highlight of the meal and slurped with equal enthusiasm by everyone from the one-year-olds to the ninety-year-olds.

*The key to making a rich chicken broth is to not use too much water.  If you need more soup, buy another chicken and make another pot.

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4 thoughts on “♦ For the Soul

  1. i learned the water trick from you and it is so much richer with less liquid, but where are you turnips and parsnips? your mother’s is exactly my mother’s. i added the other veggies. may become a purist once again! thanks for the inspiration. what do i put in the soup for a gluten free person? oy!

    love this blog! love your retirement!

  2. Had the end result, witnessed the creation of Bubbe’s chicken soup……mmm, mmmmmm good. Thanks for tbis post. I’ve made this recipe for Passover with your Mom, it’s a winning combination. Good luck with blog, it’s already great!
    Heidi

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  4. This design is wicked! You definitely know how to
    keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved
    to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

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