Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup: A Greek Tragedy

I think it's fitting that our 100th post is one that extols my culinary efforts.

That's a lie.  Today, I was a 21st century Lucille Ball.

Usually, I'm super competent in the kitchen.  I can simmer, saut√©, truss, and debone.  Heck, I can even tell the difference between a turkey neck and...well...a turkey you-know-what.  But that's a Thanksgiving story for another time.

When I'm in the kitchen, I like to pretend I'm in Kitchen Stadium.  My judges?  Julia Child, The Pioneer Woman {P-Dubs...we're secret best friends}, and Martha Stewart.  They love my food every single time and I'm crowned the Iron Chef.

Julia always reminds me that an extra tablespoon of butter never hurt anybody.

P-Dubs and I compare notes on wrangling calves back into the pasture {Josh actually always does this}.

Martha Stewart tells me all about life in prison.

It.  Is.  Awesome.

Earlier today, I mentioned that I had grand plans to make chicken noodle soup for my sickly husband.  I marched into the kitchen confidently and then realized that I really needed to go to the grocery store.  Suddenly, my dream of Kitchen Stadium turned into the nightmare that is Chopped.  {We watch a lot of Food Network...can you tell?}

Welcome to my personal Greek tragedy:

The Players:

Courtney Callicutt:  the tragic heroine, sacrificing herself for the sake of her husband's health.

The Chorus:

Julia Child:  French chef extraordinaire.  Fond of butter and lentils.

The Pioneer Woman {P-Dubs}:  Ranch mama and maker of awesomeness. 

Martha Stewart:  Queen of Homemaking.  Kind of scary.

I grab the measly ingredients that I could find.  A limp bunch of celery, half a bag of baby carrots, instant bouillon {more on that horror later}, and egg noodles.  

The muses all grimace.  

I dice up my onions.  Even Martha is impressed with my rough chopping skills.  P-Dubs comments on my newest trick:  popping a stick of minty gum in before making it to second base with onions.  I'm tear-free.  

Then, in a sudden burst of kinetic energy, I remember that chicken noodle soup probably requires chicken.  The meat drawer is void of any flesh.  I reach for a package of steroid-filled chicken tenders in the freezer and an ice tray crashes onto my foot.  Cubes {and my cats} go flying.

The muses wince, not only at the pain I'm in but at the fact that I'm not using an all-natural whole chicken.  Her husband is going to die from that cold, they whisper.

I drizzle some grape seed oil into my stock pot and let the onions sweat it out.  No way I can screw that up, right?

At this point, I kindly remind my muses that these happen to be pesticide and insecticide free, all-natural baby carrots sticks.  I receive a momentary reprieve.  

The baby carrots join the onions in sweating to the oldies.  

In a moment of frantic fluttering, I throw in 3 tablespoons of butter.  Julia smiles proudly.  

I wipe down my celery.  Martha looks pleased that I remembered to do that.  

I give it a rough chop as P-Dubs eyes that block of cream cheese warily.  

Now all of my veggies are in the tub, sizzling away merrily.  Then, disaster strikes.  

The number of ingredients on this container makes me want to go ballistic.  Shouldn't it just say chicken?  

Martha shakes her head.  "Courtney Anne, don't you have any of that all-natural, low sodium chicken broth?"

I hang my head.  "Nope."

Then, I carefully explain that I only BOUGHT instant bullion in case of dire apocalyptic emergency.  Like, I'm the only person in Georgia brilliant enough to buy this and stick it in the back of my cabinet and after nuclear war, I'm able feed the nation with my instant bullion.  The muses are not amused.

Martha's face screws up in anger.  "Well, you must put on some decent clothes and go to the grocery store.  Your husband deserves better than this!"

I refer her back to my earlier blog post.  Um, hello Martha, we are skipping church because Josh is full of germs.  She doesn't seem to understand, so I break it down for her.  

Scene:  Bi-Lo

I rush in wearing a pair of yoga pants and my husband's old Buzzard's shirt.  Just as I begin to reach for some all-natural, low sodium broth, my Kindergarten teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Andy Griffith show up.

"Courtney!" Andy exclaims, "What are you doing, young lady?  Shouldn't you be in church?"

"Well Andy," I say nervously, "Josh is sick and..."

"You're in public wearing that?" my Kindergarten teacher cries.  I look down and realize that my yoga pants look an awful lot like tights for pants.  

"Nice girls like you ought to be in church, Courtney Anne," my Sunday School teacher chides.

"I know, but Martha Stewart sent me to the store to get organic broth because I only have instant bullion and--"

"I think I'm going to give your Grandma a call about this, Courtney.  She'll be so ashamed to know that you're not only skipping church, but flagrantly flaunting it in the community's face," Andy says, shaking his head.

Martha listens to my story and shows no mercy.  Yankee girls don't understand the pressure of living in a small, Southern town.  

Swallowing the bile in the back of my throat at the thought of adding all these chemicals into my soup, I spoon the bullion in.  P-Dubs covers her eyes with her hands, Julia's in tears, and Martha is pulling out a shank she acquired during her time at FPC in West Virginia.  But I have no choice...if I go to the store, Andy Griffith is going to tell everybody I skipped church.  

I mix in four cups of hot water.  This is not the beautiful, cloud-free broth that my sweet husband is accustomed to.  I am such a bad wife.  

I dump it in.  All the muses gasp.  Then I throw in some chicken tenders.  My muses are now in tears.

Boldly, I unwrap the cream cheese.  All three muses beg me not to do it.  Cream cheese has no place in chicken noodle soup, they scream!

I cube up 1/3 of that block of cream cheese.  

I dump the cream cheese in.  Immediately, my soup looks like baby vomit.  I begin to panic, knowing that if the cold festering in my husband's chest doesn't kill him, this soup surely will.  

So I just leave it to fester and do what any sensible girl would do in my situation.  

I grab a bag of Dark Sumatra Starbucks coffee.  

And tell the muses to shove it.  P-Dubs and Julia admire my spirit.  Martha is curled up in a fetal position because I didn't grind up fresh chicory root.  

Two cups of coffee and one episode of SNL later, I toss in some egg noodles.  I don't even bother to measure or weigh anything.  My muses are already disappointed in me.  

Josh wakes up at 12:00 and grunts a greeting.  He fixes a cup of coffee and dives beneath his Star Wars Weekend blanket.  He looks awful.

I fix him a mug of soup.  The muses hold their breath.  

Doesn't he look pitiful?

And then a miracle happens.  Josh proclaims my soup delicious.  He goes on to say that it was the best soup he's ever had and he won't even need any crackers.  The muses are shocked.  

Maybe I was just being dramatic about the Greek tragedy thing.  But it seriously felt like it.  Today I got the distinct pleasure of caring for my sweet, handsome, amazing husband.  And the muses be darned, I liked it.  

I think I'm going to call this chicken noodle soup recipe Disaster Chicken Noodle Soup.  

Y'all will have to excuse me, but I'm going to rub some Vick's Vapor Rub on my manly man's chest.  


  1. I absolutely adore reading your blog. Every time I find myself back on your blog, it puts a huge smile on my face. Thanks for sharing your life with us :)

    - A Happy Reader

  2. Too fun. And yet another writer's workshop idea goes into my pocket. :)


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