I should have known there was an ailment in the air when the Piggly Wiggly was running short on chickens. That’s a sure sign doctor’s offices have been busy. Cold and flu season means there’s homemade chicken soup simmering on stovetops all around town. Although there’s now scientific proof that the chemical compounds in chicken soup really can help ease the discomfort of a cold, our Mamas knew the secret of soup long ago.
Of course, the minute I uttered the words, “I haven’t been sick in over three years,” came the all too familiar itchy eyes and sneezing. As I lay sprawled across the davenport, vacant of vigor and fragile of fortitude, I decided someone I know might need a list of the proper way to care for a Southern Belle while nursing her back to health.
It’s not the same thing as caring for other members of the family. We Belles have to be handled carefully. So, in addition to the obvious requirement of using the family’s silver soup spoons (that were once buried in the backyard to keep them hidden from the pesky Yankees), here are a few other pointers.
1. You must immediately set the Sunday school prayer chain in motion. Nothing gets done ‘till the ladies start to pray.
2. Great Aunt Mae-Rae’s crystal decanter with matching drinking glass must be filled with chilled water. It tastes so much better than a plastic bottle.
3. A little brass bell goes next to the bed to alert the help of any sudden needs, such as a pillow fluff or salty crackers.
4. The Belle’s pajamas must match the bedclothes, which must match the pillow, which all must complement her eye color, no matter how puffy and watery her eyes may be.
5. Pearls? Why, of course! They sooth a sore throat.
6. No paper tissues allowed. Only soft vintage hankies will do. The kind with a flower pattern always serves to cheer.
7. The main caregiver must also remember to cancel all appointments, involving business deals, book clubs and beauty shops.
8. Reruns of Downton Abbey and Designing Women must be queued up on Hulu.
9. The Belle’s favorite dog gets to sleep at the foot of the bed.
10.Once she can lift her poor little head off the pillow, the pampered patient will need her monogramed stationery to immediately begin writing thank you notes to all those darling enough to send food, flowers or cards while she was ailing.
Now, let me evaluate my own recovery. Did I get any of this required care while I was sick? Let’s just say my caregiver is lacking in both the “care” and “giving” departments. But just wait until the next time he starts to sneeze. I’ll hand him a rough tissue and see how he likes it.
Somebody real quick–like, please bless my heart.
If your favorite Belle comes down with the flu, here’s a sure fire way to nurse her back to health and get a lovely thank-you note.
Chicken Soup for the Southern Belle
8 cups chicken stock
2-3 medium sized boneless chicken breasts
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 pkg (6oz) uncooked egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste
1-3 dashes Tabasco Green Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
Boil chicken in stock until cooked. Remove and set aside. Add celery, carrots, onion and green peppers to the stock. Bring to a boil. Add egg noodles. Reduce to simmer, add salt, pepper, Tabasco. Â Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to pot. Continue to simmer until noodles are cooked through.
To your health, y’all.