The man of the house has been battling a major Crohn’s flare. It has not been kind to him this year. It is not a kind disease. Track stopping for even the most determined, it can bring a dark cloud into the sunniest day. There is no brave smile that can mask the symptoms. I’ve come to think of it as living with a serpent. At times it is subdued, but then without warning it rears it’s head and seems to be laughing at us, as though all the efforts to keep it in check have been hopeless. It digs it’s fangs into him and I can only watch helplessly as it drains his energy and wastes his body.
It’s not nice. Least of all for him. But there is no way to hide from it. We just keep taking each day as it comes. Talking about which weapons to try and knock it down with. Trying to find a path away from it. Digging in heels. Thinking of the small army of chronic disease sufferers who have bigger serpents to fight. Paste on the brave smiles and put some healing broth on to simmer, hoping a little Hobbit magic finds it’s way into the pan.
If you’re knackered and need to be make broth for your poorly bloke, plus feed yourself and four hungry boys (who wouldn’t be too thrilled with the idea of broth for a sunny day supper (or any day supper) the easiest thing to do is stick a whole chicken in a pot of boiling water and simmer it slowly over a few hours. If you can muster the energy to pick some herbs then throw them in along with garlic, salt and turmeric. After a couple of hours then haul the chicken out of the pan and onto a plate. It will be falling apart so might come out in bits. Then drain the broth into a new pan and add back in a little of the shredded chicken and whatever fresh veg the invalid can stomach and keep it simmering until the veg is cooked.
Then for the well folk ….sweet buttery garlic shredded chicken. Smells uplifting while cooking and weirdly despite the fact it’s laden with garlic (and the kids are suspicious of the idea of garlic) then they love it. Start with a matchbox sized hunk of butter in a frying pan on a low heat and grate in three or four cloves of garlic. Add a tablespoon of raw sugar and a little turmeric and cook for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Throw in the roughly shredded chicken and stir it around until it’s all coated in the sweet garlic butter and then cook until brown and sticky. Eat it in wraps with mashed avocado, sour cream and kidslaw (grated carrot, courgette and chopped apple dressed with yogurt, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.)
Beware there will be too many pans, but in the grand scheme of things then pans are not really that hard to wash.