Author, J.L. WILSON talks about CURES FOR COLDS

A cold by any other name ....

My husband gets three or four colds every winter. These aren't just 'colds' These are 'oh, I'm exhausted, I can't get out of bed, I'm sneezing, coughing, aching, miserable' colds. At first I thought it was just a Guy Thing -- you know, 'woe is me, I'm sick' (while the female in the house continues her daily chores through cramps, colds, fevers, chills, etc.) But I think it really does hit him that bad, or at least he thinks it does.

It's all a matter of perception, isn't it? When I get a sniffle I take DayQuil and Zicam, carry tissues, and get on with my life. To me a cold is just an annoyance. I've felt worse (at least once a month).

When he gets sick, it stops him in his tracks. He's so unaccustomed to dealing with illness that when it happens, he succumbs. This is not to say I'm superwoman or anything. I had food poisoning recently and that stopped me in my tracks, believe me (for a few days!) But something like a cold just isn't worth wasting my few sick days from work. I've got too much to juggle to let a weasly old cold stop me (writing, deadlines, work, my elderly mother & her care, groceries, laundry, conferences ... you know what it's like). If I'm going to drop something, I'm going to drop it because I was Really Sick, not just Sniffly Sick.

I have discovered a universal cure-all for his colds, though. And yes, it's chicken soup. It's really simple:

Buy a roaster chicken at the grocery store (the ones on the rotisserie). Eat what you want of it and put the leftovers in a big pot. Add assorted herbs & goodies (thyme, rosemary, celery, garlic, onions, that leftover parmesan rind, whole peppercorns). I add whatever veggies I have that are getting a tiny bit beyond their prime, too. Bring to a boil then simmer for an hour. Remove chicken carcass and pull off whatever meat remains.

Strain the stock back into the pot, put the meat back in and add mushrooms, a new onion, a new stalk or two of celery, a bit of garlic minced, some carrots and whatever other vegetables you have on hand. Simmer until veggies are tender. Put in some rice or noodles if you'd like. At the last minute put in a few frozen veggies if you've got them, add some seasoning then serve. I toss in a boullion cube, a package of dry onion soup mix, and (yes, believe me) a bit of pickle juice.

It works every time. I think the smell of the stock cooking and the anticipation cures him more than the actual food. And I like it because I don't have to do much: toss it in a pot, let it simmer, strain it, chop up some veggie, let it simmer some more. Serve with some store-bought bread, and you're good to go.

Let's hope this latest cold is his last of the winter. If it isn't, I'll run to the store and buy another chicken -- cheap, quick, and simple to do. Who needs expensive drugs when you've got Chicken Soup?

And in case you're curious: I updated my recipe page with the latest ones, including the famous Wedding Proposal Casserole. Check it out: