November 28, 2021


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Chicken soup: The tale of “Jewish penicillin”

At the initially indicator of sniffles, what do YOU do? Take two aspirins and go to bed? Chug some cold medicine? Some say the very best cure is one of the oldest, and the tastiest: Rooster soup, which some take into consideration “Jewish penicillin.”

Correspondent Nancy Giles questioned cookbook creator and foods historian Joan Nathan, “Are there certain attributes that can assistance with a chilly?”

“When I was producing soup the other working day, there was a thing about the aroma of chicken soup – it just felt fantastic,” she replied. “And when I have a cold, it’s the 1st detail that I’ll get.”

Nathan (who some phone the Jewish Julia Boy or girl) states rooster soup has been on the menu for hundreds of years. “The very first recorded point out of rooster soup was any individual named Dioscorides, who was an Army surgeon standard in Rome,” she reported. “But then later, Maimonides, who was a Jewish thinker-scientist, reported that rooster soup was a panacea for so a lot of distinctive things: asthma, weight attain (like bone soup is now), leprosy.”

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls by Joan Nathan. 

CBS News

Given that Maimonedes’ time, hen soup has been approved by grandmothers and medical doctors alike. But many believe there definitely is proof to guidance the prescription.

As rooster cooks, it releases an amino acid resembling homes in medicine used to battle bacterial infections these types of as bronchitis. And in 2000, a examine discovered that chicken soup may perhaps also cut down irritation – less swelling equals fewer signs.

Our enjoy for hen soup is common (Nathan mentioned, “It smells so great, I can really feel it going correct to the main of my belly”), but there are as quite a few recipes as there are nations in which it truly is eaten.

In Greece, lemon and egg are included to hen broth. In Thailand, a lot of lime juice and coconut. Southerners insert dumplings, and for Jews … matzo balls.


Giles questioned, “So, matzo balls started off out currently being produced from the genuine matzo. And now, are they made from, like, matzo meal?”

Nathan replied, “Manischewitz came together, and place out a cookbook (1930’s “Tempting Kosher Dishes”) for when they manufactured matzo meal. And the cookbook talked about heavenly ‘Alsatian’ balls. They failed to phone it matzo balls. Which is when they truly became component of American culture, by means of commercialism, and via people seeking to do points a minor bit much easier.”

Typically, the matzo ball was served at Passover, the Jewish holiday getaway commemorating the Israelites’ independence from Egypt.

At New York’s 2nd Ave Deli, where by they have been ladling chicken soup and matzo balls into bowls given that opening in 1954, executive chef David Teyf was asked if he has a matzo ball preference: fluffy or dense?

“Fluffy,” Teyf replied. “The fluffier the Matzo ball, that is the ultimate. You must acquire a spoon and be able to set it on your spoon, but it wants to be airy.”

Deli owner Jack Lebewohl offered the mystery for building matzo balls: Schmaltz, usually regarded as hen fats. “My brother experienced a indicating, he stated, ‘Anyone who can make matzo balls not with schmaltz, it is really an assimilated Matzo ball,” he mentioned.

Soon after cooking, these matzo balls will be a part of their mate – chicken soup.

When requested what makes their rooster soup so legendary, Teyf replied, “The high quality of the chicken we use, the volume of bones that we use and, just, significantly less is much more.”

A lot less IS much more. But what the soup lacks in ingredients, it a lot more than would make up for in historical past, tradition and loved ones.

Matzo Balls, from New York’s 2nd Ave. Deli. 

CBS Information

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Tale generated by Julie Kracov. Editor: Mike Levine.