Making chicken soup is not for the impatient chef. It takes time. Depending on which recipe you use, it cooks for three hours, before chilling it over night, skimming off the fat, and eventually reheating it when the time comes.
It’s ingredients are many and varied by recipe. Some recipes call for whole chickens. Others call for bones and parts. Others call for dill and bay leaves while others call for plum tomatoes. The smallest of herbs and spices can dramatically change the taste and flavor profile of the soup.
Cooking chicken soup is a process that involves many steps, many decisions, and many moments wondering how it will turn out when it eventually reaches the table.
Last Thursday, I made my very own from scratch chicken soup, in preparation for our Passover Seder. I was nervous. I was nervous because chicken soup is the basis for matzo ball soup, the underlying foundational element of our Seder meal. I wanted to like it, I wanted my family to like it….it needed to be good enough.
Luckily, Principessa told me it was the best soup ever (until she later clarified her opinion to it being second best, to her godparent’s soup). Rocket liked it, and I even thought it was tasty. If I am being honest, I was feeling pretty good about it as early as Thursday night, after it’s three hours of cooking, when it was still too hot to really taste.
As I reheated the soup on Saturday for lunch, still worrying about whether the left overs were good enough after having added some liquid to it….that cooking chicken soup is a lot like life.
We worry about our lives all the time. Every aspect of our lives is like an ingredient. From parenting to health to careers to physical strength, each day brings on new questions, new decisions, new ingredients that though sometimes well intended, add a bit too much spice to our lives, setting off all sorts of alarms.
I talk a great game about sitting back, enjoying the sunshine, relaxing. But the truth is that those moments, where I am totally and 100% at peace with my decisions and the eventual possible outcomes, are few and far between. Which luckily, lumps me together with the better part of the world (I hope), as I know I am not the only Type A personality out there.
But as I sat back and watched my family devour the chicken soup over the course of two days, I was reminded of the power of just letting things be. Sometimes you have to take all the steps, make the decisions, and then just sit back. It might not always turn out the way you would want, but chances are good there will be another chance to try again someday.
I am not saying that I am going to change overnight, but I am going to focus on stepping away to take care of myself without engaging with negative energy. I have to. Because the alternative of sleepless nights or an upset stomach? Is definitely not worth the detour.
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