Thursday, December 9, 2010

Comfort Food

I'm still struggling with medical issues and tests to try and figure out said issues. The current joke is my job is being a lab rat or medical experiment. Usually I freeze quarts of soups and stews for these stretches of time when trying to walk upright is a challenge. Right now I've worked through my entire stash. Which makes the box of Kettle Cuisine my good friend and neighbor gave me all the more welcome.

Chicken noodle soup is the quintessential don't-feel-good comfort food. As I recall it also is beneficial during colds, and other feverish, puny times. Mainly it tastes good, creating a feeling of lassitude and well-being, akin to a grandmotherly hug.

Now imagine a frozen soup actually tastes good, able to provide a modicum of those benefits, and you have Kettle Cuisine's gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free and soy-free Chicken Noodle Soup.

Does it compare to the best chicken soup I ever had in my life, last winter in Texas? Home-made with a roasting chicken, fresh chopped veggies, delicately seasoned, and brought over in a lovely tureen. Sort of. That tureen of soup will remain legendary in my gastronomic memories, along with the wonderful woman who made it. Cooking for someone with food allergies isn't a simple thing. Cooking and making it taste good is work. Everything has to be checked, even the spices that may be laced with corn-based anti-caking agents.

Kettle Cuisine's chicken noodle soup is clearly related to home-made and admirably 'real' for prepackaged food. It isn't overly salty, yet the broth is lightly flavorful, not bland and not so seasoned as to upset a twitchy stomach. The chicken pieces are real chunks of chicken, not pressed together mystery bits. The noodles are sturdy, flat, egg-style noodles, just long enough to slurp and not so long as to be spaghetti. Carrot slices, diced onion round out this much needed bowl of comfort. And all wrapped up in a package that microwaves in four minutes.

Of the three boxes I bought at Natural Grocers this morning I don't expect a one to last the weekend. They can also be found at Whole Foods. At just over $3 per bowl they aren't inexpensive. For the first time in over a decade to have the convenience of a fast bowl of steaming hot comfort food, they are well worth it.

Even if you don't have food allergies, try a bowl. I'll be consuming mine, each starting with a whispered thanks for good friends bearing food.

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