Recipe for Disaster
I know I must be a real grown up now. It wasn't being old enough to vote (that was a long time ago) or the 4 children which gave it away but something else. I made chicken soup because I needed to. I've done chicken soup lots of times before, varying the recipe according to what's in the fridge or garden and whether it's a chicken carcass or lamb leg bone. Sometimes, I add rice, sometimes, lentils. Whatever's at hand. But recently, I've started slipping packets of frozen casserole vegetables into my shopping trolley, thinking about the future, almost as if I suspected what was coming and yet barely registering that I am doing it. So who's responsible for such inevitability? Is it an age thing? The economic climate?
I don't specifically remember being fed chicken soup when I was ill as a child although I do remember a lot of soup in general. As integral to everyday life as politics. But here, today, the urge for chicken soup slipped out from under the mat of my consciousness and I didn't brush it back. Feeling bad? Chicken soup to the rescue.
On this grey, damp September morning I boiled up the chicken bones and added my frozen vegetables. I was heartened by the first hint of it wafting up the stairs as it came to the boil and then the sound of the huge saucepan lid tinkling and under the pressure of steam. I was convinced that it would do good things for me. Except for one thing. I'd run out of chicken stock cubes. Impetuous as ever and wanting to feel better about everything immediately, I threw in two mystery stock cubes, escapees from their box. I watch the colour of the bubbling water turn brownish. Thinking I had ruined it, I began to feel worse. Vegetable cubes would be OK but beef in my chicken soup? What kind of creature shall I tell the everyone it's made from? A feathered cow? A mooing chicken? A coalition. I didn't choose that on purpose either.