What to do when sickness strikes

Everyone in our house, except the Director is sick.  I don’t know what’s worse, everyone including mom, being sick at the same time or having one person at a time get sick.  I mean if we did the one person at a time thing, our household could potentially be sick for two months!  Then again having everyone sick at the same time is really hard too.  Especially when the little ones won’t succumb and just rest, and all of the older ones, me included just want to sleep.

So what do we do when we’re all sick?  Well, I try to use natural remedies as well as conventional western medicine, but in the end sometimes it just takes time.  In the mean time I always make the following as part of our healing process.

From my absolute favorite cookbook and one of my favorite authors, More Home Cooking, A writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin.  As Laurie states, “There is nothing like roast chicken.  It is helpful and agreeable, the perfect dish no matter what the circumstances.  Elegant or homey, a dish for a dinner party or a family supper, it will not let you down.”  In the case of illness I firmly believe this and go for the homey for sure!  Laurie offers several suggestions but for ease and healing I go with the following.  I take one large whole chicken.  I wash it completely, and then stuff it with a lemon cut in half.  After the juice has been squeezed out over the chicken and lots of garlic cloves.  I actually fill the chicken cavity and pan with lots and lots of garlic cloves, usually five to six bulbs.  I then season the skin with paprika, salt and pepper.  As Laurie says “the paprika gives the skin a deep, lovely color, a nice crunch and the merest hint of smokiness.”  Then I slow roast it for several hours at 300 degrees.  The secret to slow roasting is to baste, baste and baste some more.  I baste about every twenty minutes or so until the chicken is done.

For sick fare I serve this with a thick grainy bread and potatoes or rice.  I slice up the chicken, which is so juicy, it just about melts in your mouth.  I then make gravy from the juices in the pan and a little white wine.  It has a fabulous, garlic, lemony flavor.  Now for all that garlic.  Roasting the garlic slowly, with the chicken juices, makes the garlic fall out of the skin.  Then we spread the garlic on the thick grainy bread like butter, and devour lots and lots of it.  Of course everyone in the house smells wonderful, (sarcastic smile) but I truly believe that the garlic helps to kill what ever ails you.

Now after everyone has eaten, I take the chicken carcass, any gravy that’s left, plus the lemons and a few garlic cloves (if there are any left).  Throw it all in a deep pan, and add filtered water, three-quarters of the way up and then simmer everything for three hours or so.  After it’s done, I strain off the broth and refrigerate it.  The next day I use the stock to make Hen Soup. 

Laurie Colwin’s Hen Soup recipe

  1. Dice 1 medium potato, 1 small carrot, and 1 scallion or yellow onion.  Put these in a pot with a scattering of lima beans and or peas.  You can add any other vegetable you like.  Zucchini and celery are very nice in this soup.
  2. Spoon enough stock to float the vegetables and simmer.  About 10 minutes before serving, break up some spaghetti.  Laurie says a nice addition is the tomato-and-basil-flavored spaghetti made by the Prince Company.  I personally have never been able to find it so I usually use tri-colored spaghetti.  Drop the spaghetti in and let simmer.
  3. Add a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch each of pepper and celery salt.
  4. If you have any leftover chicken you can dice it up and put it in too.

This of course is served with more grainy bread, slathered with lots of garlic, and, lots and lots of liquids, especially hot tea.  And, we can not forget lots of hand sanitizer!


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