So, while we all sit around waiting to sprout a snout or two, because I’m pretty sure we have Swine Flu, it’s important to come up with something to eat that is:
1: Easy to make while mostly asleep and heavily drugged
2: Easy to eat while mostly asleep and heavily drugged
3: A clever mix of Good For You and Not Good For You. That’s the key to all comfort food, after all.
If we ignore #1, then my Sickness Food Of Choice is actually a really big vat of hot-sour soup from our favorite local Chinese restaurant, the one with actual Chinese people cooking and serving. I love them. They don’t use MSG. And since the majority of the kitchen staff is Szechuan, when they say “hot-sour” soup, they really mean it. The stuff strips your throat of any possible contagion, and clears your sinuses to boot. And, it has actual flavor, as opposed to just being hot. And, it has about four kinds of mushrooms, which is a happy thing. And, it’s $5.50 for a QUART of the stuff.
Hot-sour soup isn’t something I can make at home, though, so it only works when one of the driving-age parental types with a bank card is feeling decent enough to make the drive across town to the Chinese place, because it’s Idaho, and only cruddy chain-store pizza gets delivery service. It also doesn’t freeze well, so I can’t put it up in batches, like gourmet food storage.
But wouldn’t that be great? “No, I don’t have much in the way of wheat or lard, but I have 42 gallons of hot-sour soup in my freezer! End of Days, Zombie Apocalypse–bring it on! I’ve got soup!”
No, hot-sour soup can’t fit the bill when all available drivers are out of commission. And only one of my kids will eat it, anyhow.
Egg-drop soup, though… that works. In the most basic form, it has two ingredients: chicken broth and drizzled egg white. I like a slightly-more-advanced version: chicken broth, and drizzled egg white that has about three drops of sesame oil whisked in. I’m not up to the restaurant version with all the good stuff added yet.
If one is going to make a truly healthy version of the slightly-more-advanced version, one pulls one’s homemade chicken stock from the freezer or off the home-canned pantry shelf, and starts there.
Then there’s the “I want to eat like home-cooking” method, buying that carton chicken stock when you have a coupon.
Or, the budget-version, using commercially-canned chicken broth bought 2/$1 in case lots.
And then, when you’re really not up for the grocery store, or just too tired to operate the manual can opener (and silently cursing your “why use an electric appliance when there’s a perfectly good hand tool right here?” stance on so many things)… well, for those moments, there’s bouillon.
I’m going to suggest one thing, though: don’t buy bouillon marketed to Americans. It tastes like celery and salt, and nothing else. And you know it’s not even real (dehydrated powdered) celery. It’s FrankenCelery-flavored American Processed Broth Product.
In the words of my current toddler: “Nassy.”
Instead, hit the “International Foods” aisle (better known as “that row with Mexican stuff, Chinese stuff, and Mom’s weird Thai chili sauce stuff”) and grab a box of Mexican Chicken Bouillon (con pollo!)
It tastes, not like Franken-Celery-flavored American Processed Broth Product, but like… yes… Chicken!
(It’s still all salt, yeast derivatives, fourteen forms of MSG, and Yellow #5. But it tastes good.)
So, quick directions:
Unwrap a Mexican bouillon cube, pop it in a pot with two cups of water. Bring to a boil.
Separate two eggs, reserving the yolks for custard if you’re a really, really, really nice Mom who loves her family.
Whisk the egg whites a bit with a fork, blending in three or four drops of sesame oil.
Turn the heat off under the broth, and drizzle in the egg white, swishing it around with the fork to create little wispy egg shreds.
Pour into bowls or mugs, and serve with well-buttered toast. Do not use margarine. Seriously. That stuff is one process off of the plastic container it comes in. I may feed my family salt, yeast derivatives, and Yellow #5, but I draw the line at margarine. It just gets the bread soggy. Nassy.
So: Mexican Bouillon. It’s a flu-season Nifty for the Very Nearly Dead.