Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Real Story of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Day 2 of being home sick. It's never fun. Yesterday was a blur. Bed and fever do that to us. Today fever persists but at least I'm up and ready to eat some soup. I knew that the chicken noodle soup of my youth was what I needed. So into the freezer I went. No chicken. Well, not what we might call traditional chicken. Only chicken feet and necks. Let me begin the story there.

A few months ago a friend got her chicken back from the butcher and she was going to toss the feet and necks. "Who on Earth would want these?" she said to me. More people than you think was my thought. So I told her I'd buy them from her. They've been in my freezer ever since. So into a soup pot they went. I'm not going to lie and tell you they looked appetizing while they were cooking, on the contrary. It was rather unsettling seeing chicken toes among boiling water, carrots, and onions. But I continued. Before bed the pot went into our much cooler mud room so I could skim the top. But come morning I found the entire pot was rather congealed. Keep going, I thought. As I separated out the chicken I found myself doing something I don't usually do when making soup. I found myself giving thanks. Thanks to those chickens who were about to make me feel better. Why did I do that? Was it because I was so intimately involved with those critters? Was it because it was still very obvious what I was cooking? It was unlike the feelings we may have when putting a plastic wrapped, prepackaged chicken breast or thigh into a soup pot. And then it hit me. This is what we as a culture are missing. We are missing that connectedness to our food and our food preparation. How else could we blindly allow the continuation of such horrific meat lots? I knew this, I really did. But this allowed me to really feel it. I felt blessed.

After it was separated and just the broth remained, I added leeks, carrots, celery, garlic,parsley, and basil. All were from my garden. Chard and kale came from our local, and much loved CSA. Ginger and mushrooms came from the local grocery store. As I was chopping I remembered how beautiful the sage out in the garden looks and how I needed that in the soup too. Sage is a wonderful medicine, well at least it is for me. So out to get sage I went. It was a beautiful day. The sun felt good. It's been two weeks since I stood in the sun in my garden. And I realized that maybe that's why I was sick. I've become disconnected from the food that feeds me. The sun, the garden, the food grown in the garden. While getting my weekly CSA is a great thing and I'm so happy for it, I have come to believe that there is nothing like the spiritual connectedness we have from gardening and growing food and medicine in our own yards. This is what we need to feel wholly connected to our place, our planet, ourselves.

Take this winter to think about what you can grow in your back, side, or front yard. Even if it's just a container or two. I bet you will be so glad you did.

May we all feel peace from growing our own food,