Chicken Soup for Good Souls, Jewish or Otherwise
By JENNIFER 8. LEE
Published: March 12, 2009
Do the Jews have a claim on chicken soup?
A mock court once thought so, ruling that chicken soup deserved the title of “Jewish penicillin.” (The opposing side argued that the soup belonged to everyone, and that Greeks, Italians and Chinese could all claim to use chicken soup in time of illness.)
And chicken soup may actually indeed be good for a cold (not just the soul). A 2000 study found that a chicken soup recipe passed down from a Lithuanian grandmother inhibited the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection, which may reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
So while many a chicken soup recipe has been passed down from Jewish grandmothers, some felt it was time for the soup to be updated — time to move past garlic, noodles, carrots and matzo balls. The organizers of a national chicken soup contest urged contestants to think progressively in the “Better Than Your Bubby’s” soup competition.
The article goes on to talk about the competition, the different recipes, and interpretations of chicken soup.
So with Passover less than a week away, and many of us and our mothers and grandmothers cracking out the old recipe cards, maybe it’s time to rethink the old chicken soup. Does your family make it differently? Do you have ideas on how to improve upon it? Spice it up while keeping it faithful? Or maybe delving into the cuisine of a lesser-known Jewish community?
I’d love to know. Please post any recipes, traditional or not, in the comments below.