I am knocking on every wooden surface within reach because I do not want to catch a cold. I am loving the sudden change in the weather: practically overnight we have plummeted into the low 50s from the high 70s just a week ago, which means change. We are about to enjoy sweater weather, indoor cooking and the dog who has rediscovered the spring in his geriatric step. I just hope we don’t all catch colds.
For the last couple of years we have been poised to protect ourselves from COVID-19. We sanitized produce, wore masks, wore gloves, drenched ourselves in hand sanitizer, avoided our neighbors, ordered online and stopped shaking hands. We haven’t been to the movies, the theatre or out to dinner. We streamed Dune. We have been warned that even though last winter was a blessedly light influenza season, we should be prepared for more flu this year. Consequently, in these uncertain times, we have gotten COVID vaccines and now, booster shots, shingles vaccines and flu shots. We continue to wash our hands and disinfect grocery carts. We are well-versed in all current public health measures.
Mr. Sanders works outside the home, and meets actual people with real life germs, unlike my quieter WFH existence with Luke the wonder dog, and my faux friends from podcasts. Dana Stevens from Slate’s Culture Gabfest has never shared her cold germs with me, just her chortle and love of good films. I’ve never told Jessie Ware, or her mother, Lennie, what my desert island meal would be, although I am sure that they will give me tips about karaoke when the world opens up again. I’m pretty safe from colds. I think.
When Mr. Sanders inevitably brings home some germs I am going to be ready with some potent germ-fighting soups. Brews that are warming, and aromatic, and healing. I believe in the therapeutic benefits of chicken schmaltz, onions, and garlic. With the amount of garlic we eat around here it is no wonder that we have been cold-free – no one can stand to get close to us – we radiate waves of powerful garlic. (Pity the poor Queen – she never eats garlic because she worries how it will spoil her breath. I guess once the international COVID restrictions are lifted, and she can travel to the U.S. again, she won’t be making a royal beeline for Friday Night Pizza at our house.*)
Bon Appétit is thinking about colds, too. This sounds perfect for health and bad breath: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/garlic-broth They have thoroughly considered the question of what to eat when you are sick: https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/what-to-eat-when-sick?
Vivian Howard’s mother’s chicken and rice is heartier than soup, and it freezes nicely. I like to keep a couple of quarts in the freezer all winter. There isn’t any garlic in this recipe, but that is its only failing, which means the Queen will feel quite at home when she tucks into a nice steaming bowl of Scarlett’s best chicken and rice. https://www.achefslifeseries.com/recipes/21
Here is a vegetarian alternative, that extolls the many healthy virtues of garlic: https://www.egglesscooking.com/flu-fighter-garlic-soup-recipe/
Our friends at Food52, who always have the best ideas, have you covered if you are set on vegetable soup: https://food52.com/recipes/31397-10-vegetable-soup
I miss catching my annual mid-winter cold. It is an excuse to lie on the sofa during the day, drowsing and reading a book, watching the neighborhood go by in a NyQuil-induced trippy fugue state. I didn’t catch a cold last winter. I did have a cold this summer, because I kept wiping the runny nose of an 18-month-old. It was enough of a cold to make me cranky and drippy, but I couldn’t justify bedrest or NyQuil. I will be seeing the now 21-month-old at Thanksgiving. I might just let his nose run.
“As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’.”
― Aprilynne Pike