Sunday Off

I haven’t had a Sunday off work in several months. My weekends are Tuesday-Wednesday. Much better than when I had a split weekend or when I was not on the same schedule as my husband.

I went to work today for a ceremony class, to say goodbye to a group I have been teaching since the very beginning. Many of the students have recently come into the class, and almost all of the old students are no longer attending. Still, Sky’s eyes lit up with recognition when I put a map up of my home state of Colorado on the board.

‘Denver….Denver?’ he said. ‘My cousin lives in Denver!’

We tried to figure out exactly which suburb his relatives are in, but it was great that he knows Colorado and has been there. He’s a smart nine-year-old, and really quite fluent in English.

After we made a bunch of professions about what we now know, can do, and will learn in future, I went home. I have a massive cold and have been annoying all my coworkers with my coughing for days now. Five more hours of teaching tomorrow. I’ll have to go in early, as I haven’t had time to plan the lesson.

It’s too cold to just lay in bed. I have our heaters on, but the temperature is not much warmer than outside. I frequently wish that I lived in a yurt and not a brick apartment these days. I checked the weather in all my many homes around the world today, and only Suwon and Colorado have us beat. In the winter in Ferrara, it was freezing cold for a couple months and there was little heat. It rained what seemed like all the time.

Nope. It’s so much colder, less heated, and rainier in Shanghai than in any city I have ever lived in. Scores rainier than London.

Frigid, hand-burningly cold laundry it is, then. And then I’m going to try to warm myself and burn this cold out by mopping the floors. Our frigid apartment should at least be clean.

Super Soup

Boiling isn't always better than simmer, but I was hungry

A rolling boil isn’t always better than simmer, but I was hungry

The inevitable has happened. Just as I’m getting ready for my flu jab on Friday, the wrath of the common cold appears. My miraculous survival in various close quarters, areas of recycled ventilation, and gender-neutral common toilets at Chandler House (hooray gender neutrality! Booooo high-contact germy surfaces!) thus far without germies is at an end. Luckily, I’ve retained most of my mental capacity, but am incredibly happy that I don’t have any more work that must be done at my university today and that classes start late tomorrow. I can have some respite. And read a crapload about syntax, pragmatics, phonetics and phonology. In bed.

In the hope of staving off a total flu and cutting this cold off at the beginning, I made a super soup. It is packed with things to kill off the virus and to support me getting well.

Spinach is high in zinc, thought to fight the common cold.

Spinach is high in zinc, thought to fight the common cold.

Super Soup

Leftover bones (any kind. for this soup i used pork bones)
Around five cups of water (and more if needed) 
Four small mushrooms, chopped
Two small potatoes, sliced
1 cup of chopped carrot
Eight garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 a red onion, chopped (white or yellow are fine) 
1 cup of spinach
1 teaspoon of tumeric
1 teaspoon of Sea salt
1 free range egg
1/2 can of chickpeas
Juice of one lemon  

These make it almost like Egg Drop Soup.

These make it almost like Egg Drop Soup.

1) Boil the soup bones in the water for at least 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 2) Open the chickpeas and drain off the liquid. Set aside. 3) Slice the potatoes and add them to the pot. Boil for five minutes or so. 4) Chop the mushrooms, onions, and carrots. Crush and peel the garlic. Add all these to the pot and boil for ten minutes or so. If the soup is getting low on liquid, add more water. 5) Stir in the salt and turmeric. Taste for seasoning. 6) Add at least one handful of spinach and stir it in. Don’t overcook it. 7) When the potatoes and carrots are soft, crack the egg directly into the pot and stir. Turn off the heat. 8) Squeeze the lemon into the soup, and serve. 
Makes about two servings. 
A punch of turmeric gives the soup a bright yellow colour.

A punch of turmeric gives the soup a bright yellow colour.

Soups are a marvellous invention of human cooking. They are essentially a suspension of nutrients in water, easily digested and absorbed. When I have a cold I go into fluids overdrive and suck down litres of water, juice, and tea. Soup is warm fluid food. Perfect for my poorly self.

It’s cheap, too! A lot of things that are probably lying about the house can be thrown into a pot and made into a delicious and nourishing soup. The recipe is only a guideline. It can be made with just water and no egg if you wanted to keep things vegan, or with vegetable stock. Nothing makes a better broth than soup bones, though. What are soup bones?

Key to my famous soups. Reused bones.

Key to my famous soups. Reused bones.

Whenever I cook something with bones in it like chicken or lamb, I secret away the remains of bones and fatty bits that people didn’t want to eat. These soup bones are from Monday’s pork chops. From four people’s plates. That sounds a little gross. But I assure you that there is no substitute for a good bone broth in terms of taste and nutrition, and this practice helps to cut down on food waste. Not to mention that the broth-making process involves boiling the bones in water for at least thirty minutes (and usually more like an hour) which is more than enough time to kill off any germs left on them. I use my soup bones more than once, and freeze them in between.

It becomes like a game to get the most nourishment and calories out of the bones. I win if I get more than one meal from the same ingredients.

May this soup make me healthy and strong! Stay healthy this autumn!

The Super Soup

The Super Soup

How do you treat yourself when you get a cold? Do you ever recycle ingredients? Tell me below!