It's spring flu season -- How about your favorite recipes for people who don't feel good, or need their appetites stimulated? Think about how those healing herbs are also used in food, and heal two birds with one (stone) soup!
This is my chicken soup (I know, commonplace, but it is a healing substance from time out of mind) for people with colds or asthma, or recuperating from respiratory illness:
big free-range chicken, cut up, with some but not all fat removed
juice and pulp of one juicy big lemon
3 stalks chopped fresh celery
1/2 stalk of fresh chopped rhubarb, if available
1/2 sweet onion, diced
sprig of fresh thyme, bruised
heaping teaspoon or more of fennel seed, crushed
palmful of chopped parsley
big pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
salt to taste
Water to cover generously
Put the chicken, water, salt and lemon juice in a big soup pot and bring to boil. Spoon off rising scum; reduce heat to medium simmer. Add rest of ingredients; cook until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, cool and bone it while broth reduces a little. Strain the soggy vegetables and herbs out of the broth; chop and add some more fresh celery. Return boned chicken meat to broth and heat through until celery is tender-crisp. Serve over rice or noodles cooked separately, so broth is sunny-clear; and add serene music.
The acid from the rhubarb and lemon juice helps the calcium and other minerals leach out of the bones and into the broth, and makes the soup taste bright and sunny. Rhubarb also helps a congested digestive tract and liver function. The onion, thyme, fennel and cayenne (delicious together) each help loosen and raise tight chest congestion. Fennel is also demulcent and soothes irritated throat. Parsley is iron-rich and tonic, and helps clear the system by the kidneys. You know what good the music does.