Fighting germs with garlic soup
Mary Bilyeu, Contributor
Anyone who knows me has heard my mantra for people who don’t feel well: chicken soup, peppermint tea, mega-doses of vitamin C, and zinc. I have an assembly line always at the ready in my freezer -- chicken pieces to boil, homemade broth, and soup already prepared for those in need. But sometimes even “Jewish penicillin,” as chicken soup is often called, isn’t enough to fight a particularly vicious bug; so for those battles, I need to bring out the superpower of Garlic Soup.
Garlic is an antibacterial, in addition to being a noted repellant to vampires (which seem to be all the rage these days). And while you would think that this soup -- with three doses of garlic -- would be strong enough to obliterate friends and loved ones within a 5-mile radius, it’s actually fairly mild thanks to the roasting and boiling of the garlic. You can serve this as a simple broth, make it rather sophisticated with croutons and a sprinkling of grated Gruyere or Romano or Parmigiano cheese, or serve old-fashioned home-style soup by adding peas and carrots and noodles. Just be sure you use chicken broth, rather than any other variety, if your goal is to help fight germs; studies have shown that chicken soup really does have curative powers. The exact mechanism isn’t yet known -- there is some evidence of an effect on white blood cells, which fight infection, as well as a trigger to reduce respiratory inflammation -- but the chicken is an essential ingredient in this process. But does it really matter how it works, as long as it works???
So make up a batch of this soup for anyone you know who needs some t.l.c. to get over an illness. And to keep from catching any germs yourself, wash your hands compulsively, get plenty of sleep, take your vitamins, and drink lots of fluids. "Zei gezundt" -- Yiddish for “Be well and stay in good health!”
1 quart chicken broth 2 tablespoons garlic paste (available in the produce section) 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 head roasted garlic cloves* 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon minced parsley
Puree all of the ingredients, then pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chopped chicken, carrots, peas, noodles, rice, croutons, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Serve hot, breathe the steam in deeply to open your sinuses, enjoy and feel better.
*To roast garlic: Cut the pointed top off of an entire head of garlic, just exposing the tops of the cloves. Place the garlic onto a large square of foil, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Fold up the foil to enclose the garlic, and roast at 400Â° F for 45 minutes, until the garlic becomes golden and the cloves are soft enough to push out of their skins.
Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures as she tries to win prizes, feeds hungry teenagers and other loved ones, and generally just has fun in the kitchen. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured next to the blog's title) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15, and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here!
You can contact Mary at email@example.com.