Freshly-baked bread dipped in homemade chicken soup is a meal of humble origins craved by gourmets and kings. Kids love chicken soup. Mine often request canned chicken soup through which a chicken once sprinted. How much healthier to create, simmer, and serve them homemade chicken soup? Aah, chicken soup for the soul, – but what about the tongue, and the belly?
Perhaps the cook is her own worst critic, but in truth, my family and my conscience have discouraged me from making homemade chicken soup. More than twice I’ve tried. More than twice, the dog staved off the common cold.
But this past week, I took up the cause again! Into a water-filled pot went the carcasses of two frozen chickens, left-over meat from a third, numerous brightly-colored vegetables, two handfuls of barley, dashes of seasonings, advice from two patient friends, and reassurance from the Joy of Cooking bible. All simmered together in a bubbling broth.
“What’s that smell?!” some underage critic underfoot in my kitchen dared ask.
I’d better have a back-up food, I realized. I chose bread.
So, yesterday afternoon, the kids and I went to the Silly Yak Bakery and Bread Barn in Madison. The bakery specializes in delicious breads baked without gluten for those suffering from celiac disease, but they also bake traditional breads and pastries. I requested a crusty bread to accompany my homemade chicken soup. Adeptly sizing up my kids, the friendly baker recommended Granny’s White, – a hearty, wholesome bread, but white enough to fool those resistant to whole grains.
We paid, thanked him, dashed to the car, and passed out bread slices while buckling into our seats. With the quiet skill of a grandmother, Granny’s White freshly-baked bread pacified the squabbling siblings. Munching happily, we drove home in peace.