Never try to outsmart your immune system. It just doesn’t work. I know this, but it still didn’t stop me from trying to fool myself. I’m not really sick, I decided. I’ll just take a few extra vitamin C, drink more fluids and get on with things. Well the joke’s on me. Because this week, I really am sick. There’s no foolin’ no one.

I spent the bulk of the week on the couch with one large orange cat and one small orange dog piled on top of me, box of Puffs within easy reach. My beverage of choice was what I refer to as a “juice cocktail” – a concoction from my youth of half orange, half 7-up, over ice, ideally served with a bendy straw. Between cocktails I alternated with plenty of water and green tea spiked with lemon and honey.
I washed my hands approximately 83 times a day. I know because I had to either heat up or get hot water from the wood stove every time. It gets old after about the forty-second time. To appease myself, I spent a considerable amount of time online (who knew there are so many choices?!) picking out a faucet for our soon-to-be new house. A faucet from which hot and cold water will freely flow. The thought of it gives me chills. Or maybe that’s just my fever coming back.
My appetite waned considerably throughout the week. That’s got to be one of the biggest drags about being sick. I love getting hungry and dreaming about all the amazing things I could eat to satiate myself. This week though, when it came to food, all I thought about was a sleeve of saltines and a rather zingy soup. I didn’t eat much, but I made a point to have a small bowl of soup (sans garnishes) each day just to keep something in the tank if nothing else.
I had made a big pot of this soup back in my “I’m not really sick” phase and it’s a good thing. Because it fed us all week long. And it only got better and better. As my friend Andy says, sometimes a soup just needs to linger in the pot a while in order to really get to know itself. And after a few days, this soup had no questions about who it was. It was a smooth talker – thick and silky. It was pungent and spicy, but mellow at the same time. And it was pure comfort.
I used a semi-hot curry powder homemade by my friends Ulf and Pat. And I intentionally used a lot of it – in hopes of giving my “little cold” a good kick in the pants. I also didn’t shy away from the cayenne. Feel free to use a combination of hot and sweet curry and/or to reduce the amount (though using anything less than 2 teaspoons seems downright silly – it is curry soup after all).

Sweet Potato Curry Soup
(adapted from the North Carolina Cookbook)

2 tablespoons butter
4-5 large shallots (enough to make about 1 cup chopped)
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 scant teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2-3 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
6 cups stock (I used half turkey and half garlic, or chicken would work great too)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup milk
sour cream or creme fraiche
roasted peanuts, chopped

Melt the butter in a large soup pot and add the shallots and celery. Cook until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the ginger, and all of the spices except the thyme and bay leaf. Cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the sweet potatoes, stock, thyme and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Fish out the bay leaf and either transfer soup to a blender in batches, or use an immersion blender to purée the soup. Stir in the milk and serve, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and crushed peanuts.

5 Responses to “denial”

  1. 1 norths2 January 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “The longest river in the world” adventure :)

  2. 3 Gina January 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Feel better, friend.

  3. 4 norths2 January 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I hope today finds you feeling better than yesterday and…
    again tomorrow and…

  4. 5 Ann January 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Hope this full moon beaming over the lake will pull you right out of that bed! Feel better soon! Ann

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