The Soup That Sounded Good, In Theory

So the head cold changed direction yesterday. It executed a near-perfected U-turn, traveled in a Southern direction, and landed smack-dab, with a loud thunk, back in my chest. I had originally believed that the Lingering Chest Cold, which held on for the better part of November, was a done thing and that we had officially broken up and parted ways, but at some point in the middle of the night, I made the small discovery that the Lingering Chest Cold had only been in remission.

And now it is back.

And I don’t really want to talk about it, because when I start to talk about it, that’s all I can talk about BECAUSE OF ALL THE MISERY. And also because of POSSIBLE WHINER.

(Speaking of ALL THE MISERY, it’s what drove Hubs to the sofa at 12:30 this morning. Apparently, he was completely over LISTENING to all the misery, which took on the form of a deep-rooted chest cough that makes me sound like I’ve been slamming back thirty-three packs of Camels a day for the last decade.)

(And thirty-three packs a day? I have to imagine that’s a lot, because I was always one of those do-good types during my teenage years who never even TRIED a cigarette, so when people talk about their daily package intakes, I have no idea what constitutes a severe Camel addict and what just shouts out I ONLY SMOKE FANCY CIGARS ON POKER NIGHT WITH THE GIRLS.)

(Which, you know, I don’t.)

(Because I never even learned to play poker. Oh, Brother tried to teach me to play poker once, when Hubs was just Boyfriend. Hubs — who was just Boyfriend — and Brother lived together, and one evening they tossed out the cards and tried to teach me the ancient art of poker, and I was overwhelmed with all the “this-card-is-higher-than-that-card” business, so I simply shouted out “UNO!” whenever I thought I had a good hand. Ultimately, this made Boyfriend and Brother discouraged with my teachability, and it was the very last time anyone tried to teach me Texas Hold ‘Em, so they encouraged me to park myself in front of their TV while they battled out a friendly game of poker between the two of them.)

(And really? Televised poker? Does anything exist that’s more boring? I’ll gladly hand out five golden stars to televised fishing, if it means televised poker will leave me alone.)

(And another thing? House Hunters? I just have two words: Bore. Ing. And all the boring is a sad thing, because rarely do I actually get to sit in front of the TV at home, but when I do, it’s all HGTV and nothing else. Unless Lifetime is airing a sappy show. And it seems like every time I turn the channel to HGTV, it’s back-to-back, marathon, days-on-end showings of House Hunters. That’s when I usually end up watching all the televised fishing. But not the televised poker. Because that’s how the listing goes. #1 Public Enemy: Televised Poker. #2. House Hunters. #3. Televised Fishing. I have nothing more to say on this.)

Where was I?

I think I was at the spot where I agreed to just inform you that SICK! I AM SICK WITH THE BLACK CHEST DEATH! and leave it at that.

So the thing is, I decided that perhaps some homemade chicken noodle soup might help push the Black Chest Death (of which we shall not speak) to a more tolerable level today, and that’s when I realized that TURKEY! WE STILL HAVE SOME LEFTOVER TURKEY, AND REALLY? Can’t it just be homemade TURKEY noodle soup?

Science was certainly never my strong suit (simply because the professor never asked, “Where should we place the semi-colon and the capitalization and the verb in this meiosis?”), so when I looked at the leftover turkey this morning and counted backwards on my fingers to Wednesday, when Hubs actually spent the day turning a raw bird into a smoked culinary delight, I began to have me some second thoughts, but it was time to rush out the door with the boy and get the punk to school.

On my return trip, I pulled into a church parking lot (of a church that we don’t even attend), and texted Cody (chef extraordinaire) to ask the burning question of the day: “Hypothetically speaking, if you cooked a turkey last Wednesday, could you turn it into soup today? Which is Tuesday.” (Often enough, I just state the obvious. Today was indeed Tuesday. I doubt Cody needed that part, but I like to overstate things just a titch.) I’ve never been very grand at texting and driving at the same time (Superb at BOTH of those things…just on an INDIVIDUAL BASIS!), so I sat in the church parking lot and waited, because I didn’t know whether I should (a) go back home, or (b) head to the grocery store for soup-making ingredients.

But yes. I sat in that parking lot and waited for a responsive text.

And waited.

And waited.

And then I decided that Cody (bless her heart) must have been showering or pumping gas into her PT Cruiser while her phone sat unnoticed in the console, because she wasn’t responding. Hence, I sent out a mass text to Missi and Amy and Elaine and Katie and Stephanie V., and I asked them the same question. I decided that it would be a bit of a gambling game. If I had more “Yes, that’s a safe thing to do” responses than “Ugh! Throw the turkey out” answers, I’d go with the soup.

Stephanie V. fired back instantly and said, “Honey, the turkey is good enough for soup. Make it, darling, and enjoy.”

Katie was on Stephie’s tails, as she said, “Paul ate a turkey sandwich yesterday. Make your soup. Just think of our ancestors. I bet they ate week-old turkey and they lived!”

Missi said, in all capital letters, “ABSOLUTELY! Make crockpot soup today, as long as the turkey has been kept in the fridge all week!” (That one made me smile, because…well…where else would I have kept the turkey?)

And so it was confirmed. I pulled out of the church parking lot and headed to the grocery store, because I needed things like carrots and celery stalks and an onion, because cooking Thanksgiving dinner plum sucked us dry of all our food staples this week.

Then, just as I was about to head into the grocery store, Cody responded. “I don’t trust poultry after four days. Throw it out. Don’t do soup.”

So there I was, wandering the aisles of the grocery store with a cart that was empty, because suddenly I was lost! Mindlessly lost, wondering what on earth I was going to get to put into my cart now, and wondering if I should go with the soup or not go with the soup.

And then BRILLIANCE! If the turkey leftovers were now six days old and I made soup, and the soup makes a BIG POT, wouldn’t the turkey be seven days out tomorrow? And eight days out the following day? And clearly, that wouldn’t be so good. So which was it to be? Throw away the turkey, in it’s plain state today? Or throw away the soup tomorrow, after all the labor involved in making it?

People, I was a victim of the Black Chest Death, and I had no idea what to make for dinner, so I wandered aimlessly through the store, putting NOTHING into my cart and wondering exactly how long it would take for me to shake the NyQuil hangover.

And then an older employee at the grocery store politely asked me, “Can I help you find something?” What he didn’t add to his question was, “You know, since you’ve been in our store for twenty minutes now, and you’ve circled the produce section eight times, and you have yet to pick up a single item and place it into your cart?”

I simply looked at him and said, “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner tonight.” And then, because I always manage to over-talk, I did indeed add, “I was going to make turkey soup, because Katie and Missi and Stephanie V. all told me it would be fine. Amy and Elaine never answered my text messages, and then Cody told me NOT to make the soup, and now I think maybe I really SHOULDN’T make homemade turkey noodle soup for my horrible chest cold, because tomorrow I’ll have to throw the leftover soup away because the turkey will be really old by then.”

Do you know how sometimes you simply ask how someone is doing, and you expect them to say, “Fine. Just fine,” only they hit you with a full-on history of all their medical ailments since 1984, which then makes you suddenly remember that Van Halen’s Jump was one of your favorite songs that year? Such was the shock that I dealt out to the grocery store employee today.

He finally asked, “So you’ve decided NOT to go with the turkey soup? Because Katie said no? Or because Missi said no? WHO said no?”

“Cody said no. Everyone else said yes, except for Amy and Elaine, who are ignoring me. I’m dying of the Black Chest Death and I need an answer on this turkey dilemma, and those two are just ignoring me.”

And then he said, “I think NOT going with the soup is probably a good idea. You never know what can happen to meat when it has been in your refrigerator for several days.”

I thanked him for his answer, and I decided I’d do tortellini in a white sauce tonight. As I told the gentleman thank you for his time, he yelled out, “You know, you remind me a lot of my daughter.”

He has a neurotic daughter dying of the Black Chest Death who can’t make up her mind on days-old turkey, and who over-talks and over-analyzes everything with complete strangers in grocery stores and brings AWKWARD to new heights?

I simply said, “I’m sure your daughter is a lovely person.”

(He did say that I reminded him of her! Hence, I was stating the obvious. Which I have been known to do. As in, today is Tuesday.)

He replied, “She’s always over-thinking things. Just remember, THROW THE LEFTOVERS AWAY AFTER FOUR OR FIVE DAYS.”

And with that, I went on my way.

With a cart full of tortellini and some haphazard ingredients to make an Alfredo sauce to go on top of it tonight.

If I have the strength to actually COOK dinner tonight, that is!

(And really? As a grocery store employee, maybe he was just telling me to throw the leftover turkey away, so that I would spend money buying new food in the grocery store. It may have been a successful marketing campaign on his part. The jury is still out on this one.)

And then? When I got home? Well, Amy fired off a text and said, “I just talked to my dad. You know? The microbiologist? He said to go for the soup, as long as the turkey has been refrigerated since Wednesday, and as long as it didn’t sit out on the counter for too long on Wednesday evening, during your Thanksgiving dinner.”

(Where was all this “as long as the turkey has been in the refrigerator since Wednesday” stuff coming from? I’ve never been known to say, “Yeah, I think I’ll make turkey soup out of that leftover turkey that we kept in the sock drawer of the bedroom dresser all week.”)

And then, exactly twelve seconds after Amy’s text came in, Elaine’s response arrived. She said, “Um, I wouldn’t do it. Think of the soup. Tomorrow it’ll be LEFTOVER leftovers, and that’s not good.”

Elaine and I have always thought exactly alike.

Although today Missi told me to fortify myself with a Starbucks treat before I shopped for carrots and celery for the soup, and that’s exactly my line of thinking too.

You know…the over-analyzes and over-thinks everything line of thinking.

But, as they said on Seinfeld years ago, “No soup for you! Come back one year!”

NEXT Thanksgiving, I’m going to be all over the turkey noodle soup issue before it even becomes an issue.

And? For the record? We have now officially had dinner. (Yes, I started the post BEFORE making the tortellini tonight.) I coughed like a mad woman throughout our entire meal, and Hubs said this: “Honey, you sound awful — just awful. Why don’t you hurry up and get the kitchen cleaned up, so that you can go straight to bed?”

Hubs.

He’s a keeper.

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