Or I did, until two days ago when I fell as sick as everyone else. The reason I once loved the miserable thing is that I get vaccinated every year and avoid all gatherings–work-related and social. For someone with strong anti-social behavior, the flu provides an iron clad excuse to not see anyone from after Christmas to, oh, say, April. One year I stretched my excuse to the end of May. It’s a wonder I have any friends at all.
This effective prevention was broken last week by a birthday party for one of my most beloved friends in the world, thrown by his equally most beloved friend in the world–his wife. We even drove all the way out to the tip of Long Island for him. We ate copious amounts of a gigantic spread, drank our way through the bar, danced to exhaustion, and hugged and kissed everyone, including complete strangers because we drank our way through the bar.
Exactly four days later WHAM!
The Flu Diary
Day 1-3: Walking Dead. Bedside table accumulating ineffectual drugs. Husband and dog sleep in other room; only faithful companion, very unsympathetic cat.
Day 4: Crackers/tea ain’t helping. Must fend for self. Stumble down stairs to kitchen.
Lurch toward refrigerator and unearth frozen bag of Thanksgiving turkey bones.
What am I doing? Oh, yeah, soup. Age old cure.
Manage to lift soup pot off hook and bang atop stove. Gratefully, it falls somewhat in alignment to burner. And then:
- Plop bones in pot. Pour in water from tea kettle
- Wander over to refrigerator, take out what sorry items are in vegetable bin: a third of a wilted fennel bulb, half an onions, the dog’s bag of baby carrots. Also find frozen asparagus…may fish them out later
- Dump in handful of pickling spices instead of peppercorns, plus three whole, barely skinned and smashed garlic cloves
- Add carelessly chopped vegetables
- Turn on burner
- Shuffle back to bed
- Pass out
A couple hours later, I crawl back to the kitchen, this time accompanied by dog. It’s almost night walk/dinner time and she prances behind me with her nose straight in the air. I can’t smell so I take her word this may be a good sign, and then open the back door for what’s going to pass for a long walk. Off she leaps, straight ahead to the perennials plot. What does it all matter anymore?
Meanwhile, the soup is at this stage
Time to clarify the broth, degrease the pot, pull the meat off the bones. This is not going to be pretty. I proceed with the process, fortify by a chug of cough syrup.
Since I’m no longer breathing and fever is spiking, I’m going to lean heavily on one of the old recipes I wrote about in A Soothing Broth (my secret favorite of my books). Add hot spices because they help to clear airways and nasal passages. Out comes a bottle of Siracha and Tabasco sauce, and one dried Mexican pepper.
FORGET THIS STEP IF YOUR STOMACH/INTESTINES ARE AFFECTED!! Instead, clarify the broth a couple more times. A few threads of saffron are medicinally helpful, too. Look it up! ****
Ladle a good size portion of soup in a bowl and manage to carry it to the couch in front of TV. Find something stupid to binge watch.
Final step: hope for a better day tomorrow.
****Here’s a good way to clarify the broth: place soup pot in the refrigerator (or outside if it’s cold) for at least two hours or, better yet, the next day. A skin of fat will have formed, making it easy to scoop away. If you do have intestinal flu, strain the soup through cheese cloth. You should now have a clear consomme.