It’s not chicken soup for the soul – it’s chicken soup for the garbage. And that picture is what it was supposed to look like … Let me explain.
My mom often made homemade soup. She could have started her own movement “No Carcass Left Behind” because, in our house, those bones were boiled before dinner was digested (I daresay she even begged for bones from others who weren’t going to use theirs). Sometimes the pot of what would be soup was started while the bird of the moment was being carved for serving.
She wasn’t allowed to add a bunch of stuff to the broth, only noodles, salt, pepper, and some extra flavour if the bird hadn’t provided enough of its own, and we gorged ourselves on that simple goodness.
I liked the chicken and turkey soups, but when it came to other varieties I preferred soup from a can. I wasn’t much different than many kids of my day who preferred store-bought options to their homemade equivalents, with the exception of bread; I loved homemade bread which we hardly ever got and I remember country kids envying my store-bought sandwich bread at school because all they ever got was homemade bread! I couldn’t stand the smell of beef bones boiling on the stove so soups made from those didn’t appeal to me at all.
I paid little attention to the making of soup until I grew up and decided that I wanted to be all domestic and make homemade soup for my own family. Then I did what we all probably do when we have grown up enough to recognize that our mothers know stuff: I started asking for recipes. In my defense, though, in my later teens, mom branched out and started making some cool varieties of soup that I was already enjoying before leaving home. These were the recipes I wanted (and they didn’t involve beef bones).
My kids grew up with homemade soup and I became the carcass lady. I started with recipes, but after a few repeats of the same thing I quickly began to just put my own stuff together and we’d have soup for lunch or supper of whenever we wanted because I always used my biggest pot so there would be leftovers.
I’m not a gourmet cook; I don’t desire to be a gourmet cook. I cook when I need to eat. Somehow my daughter developed a real enjoyment of cooking and baking and I experienced a moment of pride the other day when I picked her up for a spontaneous outing and she was telling me that she had to quickly cool off her soup before she left home. In the conversation, I realized she was talking about having made a pot of homemade soup, no recipe, and had put it into little containers for future meals. Yes! My single adult baby girl living on her own in the 21st century of prepackaged microwaveable processed instant everything is making homemade soup. Hurray for
Which brings me to my garbage soup. After a discussion with her regarding the safest ways of cooling soup quickly, based on my mother’s practice of filling a sink with cold water and letting the pot sit in it to cool but having to make sure you don’t forget about it when you go to bed, I boiled up my rotisserie chicken bones yesterday and put them in the sink after supper. Yes, the chicken was store-bought from the deli, but those BBQ chickens make fantastic soup!
When I got up this morning, there it was, all nice and golden and looking delicious, full of bacteria I cannot even name, cooled to room temperature – sink had drained – and left overnight because I forgot. So I flushed it down the toilet. And this is why mine is not a cooking blog.
To be clear, I have many more times remembered and successfully stored my soup. But when I saw the pot sitting there this morning, I had to smile to myself as several soup memories came to mind and the idea of writing about it began to churn. I’m sure even the best soup ladies have lost a pot here and there.
I continue to make a variety of homemade soups myself but still, when it comes to chicken or turkey, it’s noodles only, please. There’s plenty of room in those other pots for all the extra stuff. The one soup I miss having from a can – which I don’t eat now because of the wheat in it – is Campbell’s tomato. But I’m gradually getting my own closer and closer and in the meantime the way it tastes is just fine with me.
To this day, if mom knows one of us is sick, she’ll boil up a chicken. Old habits die hard. Thank goodness!