Chicken Soup for the Preschool Soul

So my four year old started sniffling yesterday, which makes him (and me!) miserable. My Old-World instinct is to go straight to the grocery store, where I buy an organic chicken, some celery and carrots, and put it in a pot. After all, if some homemade chicken soup doesn’t help, it’ll at least help him feel better. Or more accurately, make me feel like I have done my motherly part to speed up his recovery.

To be honest, my previous attempts at dishing up homemade chicken soup haven’t gone well. Usually, I make it the Chinese way, seasoned with only some sliced fresh ginger, green onions and a shitake mushroom or two. Maybe the flavors come out a bit too strong. So this time, I try something different. Since I have a huge stack of corn tortillas in the fridge, I decide to try a Latin take. After hours of simmering chicken, deboning the breast, simmering the rest for longer, straining the miscellany as best as I can (after all, I’m starting to feel bad too), and frying up homemade chips, I offer steaming bowls to my kids.

My seven-year old is mainly interested in the tortilla strips — which he helped fry — and complains that the broth is too hot. But he follows my instructions to blow on the soup to cool it down, and finishes the bowl. The four year old (the sick one) is a bit of a tougher sell. A stray carrot has found its way into his bowl. The chicken is too chunky. And then he spits out a mouthful. “Spicy!” he screams. It’s not like I put jalapenos in his soup, so I wonder what it could be. The culprit — a single black peppercorn. Oy. So much for my attempt at Jewish penicillin!

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