chicken soup as catalyst

I made a big pot of chicken soup the other day (see previous post).

Except for echinacea and goldenseal, I have never found any concoction that does battle with a sore throat and cold better than chicken soup. Of course, you have to add lots of garlic and onions. I also add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to leech the calcium from the chicken bones into the broth. And I load it with all kinds of other vegetables, which I discard after I have strained them out of the soup.

I picked out the wishbone to take home to my grandson so that we can both wish that his run-away cat would come home. That darned cat has been gone for almost a week — gone from the house (he’s been an indoor cat) but not from the property. He shows up every night on the outdoor camera that has been set up near the dish that’s left outside for him. I’m betting that he’s having the time of his life, and that even my outstanding chicken soup would not lure him back into captivity. On the other hand, he might come back for the love that awaits him behind that door that he now just ignores.

As I was ladling the hearty broth into freezer containers, I had flashes of some lines from an August Strinberg play that my once-husband once directed. (He was a big Strindberg fan.) It had something to do with servants discussing the fact that even though their employers got to eat the meat, the servants got the broth, and that’s where all the nutrition really is.

After my broth has cooled in the containers, I skim off the chicken fat accumulated at the top of each. I pick some up on my finger and taste it. Yum. Tasty cholesterol. When I was a kid, my mother would save the chicken fat from the soup and use it to brown chicken pieces for chicken fricasee. (Does anyone make chicken fricasee any more?)

My mother made chicken soup a staple in our house when I was a kid. Back then, in the 1940s, she used chicken necks and wings because they were cheap. (That was before chicken wings became so popular, of course.) I would help her pick out the meat from among the tiny boiled bones so that she could make chicken salad.

These days my mother doesn’t seem to like the watery consistency of chicken soup, so I thicken the broth into gravy, add the boiled chicken and freshly cooked vegetables, and turn it all into a hearty stew.

These days it’s hard to find food stuffs that mom really likes Something she devours one day she will refuse the next time it’s offered.

That’s the one thing you can count on regarding dementia — you can’t count on anything working more than once.

As it should be, there are all sorts of experiments going on to find ways to prevent and stall the progress of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. What I wish is there was a better understanding of how to “make comfortable” people like my mother, who are at the far end of the journey and for whom there doesn’t seem to be any medications that are able to give her the peace of mind and pain-free body that she deserves.

I’ve already warned b!X that, before I get that bad, I will move in with him in Oregon, where they have a Death with Dignity law.

Or maybe I’ll just OD myself on chicken soup.

2 thoughts on “chicken soup as catalyst

  1. I also love your site and look forward to your posts. I took care of my parents and now help my husband with his grandfather who is 93 and has some sort of dementia that manifests itself in anger. We found a great psychiatrist who has used meds to control the anger. You are right that we need more to help those at the end of their lives deal with the fear, pain, and confusion. Blogs like yours will perhaps help.

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