Chicken Soup for the Sick College Student's Soul
By Lia Lehrer
Three weeks of my first month of college were characterized
by sneezing, a runny nose, coughing and a sore throat.
Away from home for the first time, I had a cold and it
wasn’t going to go away on its own. I had exhausted my supply of Tylenol Cold
Nighttime pills (though they made me drowsy during the day, they were the only
thing I could find to stop my sniffles), and it wasn’t until weeks later that I
discovered that allergy medicine would solve my problem.
Much like your parents, I’m sure, my parents worry about me
when I cross the street and when I use a stapler. Naturally, then, when they
heard about my cold, they wanted to do whatever they could to make me better.
“Maybe you should sleep in your own bed tonight,” my mom
“I’m at college,” I told my parents. Even though I go to a
school 20 minutes from home, I told them that I wasn’t going to give up even a
day of college life to recover at home.
So a day later, when my parents visited campus to drop off a
birthday present for me, they gave me one other item that turned out to be the
“Try this,” my mom told me. “It will make you feel better.”
I had never heard of a bouillon cube before, and I was a
little skeptical that a yellow cube could somehow magically become a bowl of
kosher chicken soup.
My mom was correct in her thinking, of course. While cold
medicine cures scientifically, what I needed was just some warm chicken soup
from my mom.
I walked into my dorm’s dining hall, my bouillon cube safely
hidden away in my purse. Instead of my normal meal of pizza and salad, I looked
forward to something unusual (for me).
I took a bowl intended for cereal off the shelf, and grabbed
a spoon. I filled a styrofoam coffee cup with hot water, and brought my tray
back to my table. My friends watched, intrigued, as I poured hot water into the
bowl, crumbled the cube into the water, stirred, and let sit for five minutes.
“It’s chicken soup from my mom,” I told them. “You know,
because I have a cold.”
The hot soup slid down my throat, warming me up. It was just
what I needed.
It wasn’t enough, however, as I was still feeling sick the
next day. I decided to make the soup again. But this time, it wouldn’t just be
plain broth. I’ve watched my mom make chicken soup enough times to know how to
do it right.
While the soup was simmering, just like the day before, I
cut up pieces of celery and carrots from the salad bar, and added noodles from
the pasta line. Unfortunately, the dining hall had no kiosk for matzah
balls or kreplach, so I had to make do with what I had.
Again, it warmed my body and soul. There really is no better
feeling in the world than sipping warm chicken soup. For that one moment, my
runny nose and sore throat weren’t making me feel miserable.
It’s nice to know that even when I’m living away from home
and my parents aren’t around, I can still be warmed up by chicken soup from my
Make your own kosher chicken soup in your dining hall:
1 Telma Chicken Consomme cube
1 cup hot water
Fill bowl with hot water. Crumble soup cube into bowl. Stir;
let simmer for five minutes. Add chopped celery and carrots, and noodles. Stir.
Watch your cold melt away!
No previous cooking experience is required.
Lia Lehrer, of Lincolnwood, Ill., is a freshman at
Northwestern University. She is unsure of her major, but hopes to minor in
Jewish Studies. She works as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor at her synagogue in a
Chicago suburb. She was active in USY and hopes to come back soon as USY and
Kadima staff. She is a copy editor at the Daily Northwestern, and recently was
named co-leader of the Conservative Minyan at Northwestern University Hillel.