Here’s the Scoop on Chicken Soup

“Food feeds both the body and soul – there are clear reasons to eat a balanced diet, but there are also reasons you cling to your mom’s secret chicken noodle soup recipe when you’re sick.”

Author: Michael Mina

Did you know January is national soup month? I can’t think of a better time to pay homage to chicken soup!

Many years ago, my young daughter caught a nasty flu with a high fever. I was stationed at the Naval Medical Clinic, Annapolis, MD and I was able to get her in to see Dr. Lee, our pediatrician. I fully expected to leave the appointment with several scripts, including antibiotics, decongestants, steroids and inhalers. Instead he wrote the following order on his prescription pad:

It also said return to clinic, if symptoms don’t resolve in 2 days.

At the time my husband, Steve, and I thought Dr. Lee was crazy. But he explained that in his native country (China) it was customary to use food as medicine. This was in 1992, and it was great advice.

So what makes this soup, that has become known as a cure-all, so special?

Bone Broth

When I was in my twenties, I could never understand why it took my mother all day to make chicken soup when my husband would have a hot steaming bowl ready in about 30 minutes.

The answer is this: my mother was making home made bone broth. She used a chicken carcass after picking the bones clean. Bone broth is delicious, super nutritious, and comes with a whole lot of health claims.

It takes several hours of boiling/simmering to pull the nutritious bone marrow from the bones. If you have the time, it’s worth the wait. Back then Steve was using canned broth, packed with excess salt, gluten and other unhealthy chemicals and fillers. This would also explain the difference in the flavor. Bone broth has a rich flavor and fills you up.

Needless to say, Steve makes his own bone broth now. Once in a while he still cheats, by buying a good quality organic bone broth.


We buy our chicken carcasses for making bone broth and chicken soup from Serenity Acres Farms in Ogdensburg, NY. Their carcasses are large and meaty. Also Serenity Acres raises their chickens responsibly, with no growth hormones or antibiotics. They also have a good chicken soup recipe on their Facebook page.

Highly recommended by me!

Flavorful Herbs and Spices

2-3 bay leaves are a must!

Add poultry seasoning, salt, white or black pepper, ginger, turmeric…add any seasoning you like.

When I made chicken soup in the past, I would add a bit of Simon and Garfunkel’s parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!

Don’t be afraid to use different spices. Steve’s soups are always full of flavor.

You can spice it up and give it a Tex-Mex flair. The Greek version uses lots of lemon. The variations are limitless.

Vegetables Loaded With Vitamins and Minerals

The rest is easy: Just add your vegetables and boil them until they are tender!

Steve likes to start with the trilogy: onions, celery and carrots.

He always adds lots of garlic (multiple cloves) and fresh ginger root. Fun fact: did you know that garlic goes by the nickname of “Russian penicillin?”

In addition, he throws in whatever we have available: peppers, fennel, potatoes, mushrooms, kale, bok choy, or whatever floats his boat at the time. You can’t go wrong.

No two home made chicken soups are ever the same, but they are all delicious!

Additionally, feel free to add noodles, rice, quinoa or some other grain of choice.

Almost every culture on earth has recipes passed down for generations for chicken soup. It has been touted as the cure all for many health ailments. Our grandmothers got it right on this, and so did Dr. Lee!

Thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)

Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.

The river is frozen over clear to Canada!


  1. Omg! I remember being prescribed soup! I was so disappointed to not get an amber medicine bottle with my name on it! I also remember Dr. Lee telling you guys to “hold my head over the soup.” As a 7-8 year old, I had no idea what that meant lol

  2. It all sounds delicious! One item I add to my Chicken Soup ….cloves…4 or 5…don’t forget to fish them out before serving!! My best to you and Steve! Be well! Carol

    • We’ve never used cloves before, but Steve is definitely going to put some in the next time! Thanks! We are doing well. I hope you are ready for the new snow storm coming up on Thursday!

  3. Super blog – we’re expecting icy weather this week end – so will be making soup – hopefully chicken.

  4. Lovely post, great Rx from your pediatrician, good recipe. One thing I do that has always knocked out a cold in record time is this: place a bowl of very hot steaming chicken soup on a table. Place your face directly above the soup bowl, with a towel draped over your head hanging down to the sides of the bowl to create a tent that captures the soup vapors. Inhale the steam deeply until it runs cold. Then you can eat the delicious chicken soup. Have fun!

    • Thank you, Luisa! I am a third generation Italian immigrant. My grandfather came from Palermo, Sicily. My mother was an amazing Italian cook. Me, not so much!

      • Now even in Italy we no longer have the opportunity to dedicate all the time that our mothers or grandmothers dedicated to cooking. This does not mean that the results are not yet appreciable🙏❤️🙏

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