Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Pride of Chicken Soup

It's odd that I've never blogged much about food, because I really like cooking. It's enjoyable and satisfying. I find it relaxing, given that my day job in software engineering is very abstract; it's a pleasant change of pace to work with something I can touch and taste. Last but not least, cooking for others has a primal importance. We all need food to live. Preparing food for others is giving a tiny bit of life.

After a lot of practice, I'm a pretty competent amateur cook. I can confidently make Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for eight or ten people, and it's very tasty if I say so myself. Boxing Day was the most proud I've ever been of my cooking skills, and all I made was a simple pot of chicken soup.

Chicken noodle soup: Not mine, but similar.
Source: Wikipedia

My son Zach had his first birthday on Christmas Eve. He's a wonderful, happy, active baby, but unfortunately he's got his first major cold right now. It's just a cold, nothing unusual, but he doesn't understand what's happening. He's uncomfortable, unhappy, and his nose is blocked up, which interferes with smelling, chewing and swallowing.

Zach was refusing all food aside from fruit purée, which was something but not what I'd call a balanced diet. Normally he loves baby oatmeal porridge, but not then, and processed baby food from jars was rejected on sight.

So I spent a couple of hours making soup out of the leftover roast chicken we had on Christmas Eve, with some leeks, carrots, herbs and thin pasta noodles, and zapped it in the blender until it was smooth. Our uncomfortable, cranky baby ate up a huge bowl of it, by his standards. Afterwards he snuggled in my arms with his head on my shoulder, tired but contented.

It's only a cold, and I expect he would have eaten something else when he got hungry enough, but it didn't come to that. It was a beautiful warm feeling to help Zach in this way. (It has occurred to me that maybe breastfeeding mothers feel something like this, all the time.).

The next day, because the gods have a sense of humour (and so does Zach), he was refusing chicken soup and back onto porridge. But at the time, it was just exactly what he needed. He still has a cold but he's looking better now.

Happy birthday, young man. I don't know what you will do when you grow up, but I believe you'll never be too old for your dad to make you a bowl of chicken soup.

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