Notes on the Flu and a Chicken Soup Recipe

Monday Before Last I got the flu. 

Sometimes the vaccine doesn’t match the current strain and, Voila!,  you go out to eat on Friday afternoon and

by Monday afternoon you think you have a head cold.

By Tuesday:   You have a fever of 102.5 with debilitating joint pain.

On Wednesday morning:  Your fever breaks and you feel, and look like, over cooked pasta.  Limp.  Washed out.

Thursday:   You begin to feel better only to get the punies and you can’t eat.

Friday:   Your head begins to clear and it all goes to your lungs.  They hurt.  It is hard to breathe.  It is late and you are worried about pneumonia… you consider paying the $300.oo copay for the ER.


If you know about it, you make bone soup from broth you created last month, and stored for such an occasion as this.  Chicken with 8 cloves of garlic and lovely gluten free egg noodles.  You eat lots of it for lunch and dinner.  You feel better.

Then, that night you have a nightmare in which you wake screaming, jump out of bed and yell, “You stupid [expletive]!”  at the bad guy in your dream and your husband says, in a sleepy voice,  “Are you OK?”  and goes back to sleep.  While you wait for your ears to stop thumping you go make a cup of chamomile tea and read about Hobbits and Tom Bombadil.  You become sleepy again and go back to bed.

Saturday: Is a bit better.

Sunday:   You can breathe out of both sides of your nose at the same time.  Your lungs don’t hurt, and you can eat.  You’ll live. 

Life is good.


How was your week?  😀


Trust me, when you make the recipe below it will not look like this.
Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food ...

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food that might be found across cultures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bone Soup


  • bones from chicken carcass (fresh, or saved from roasted chicken)
  • 2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced  (or more if you are sick and need the boost)
  • 1 small onion chopped medium
  • t tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter (if you don’t eat butter then add another tbsp. of olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c uncooked brown rice  OR egg noodles (amount to preference)

Optional ingredients ~  minced flat leaf parsley,  sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter, green peas.  Want more meat?  Cube a cooked chicken breast and add to the pot the last 30 min of cooking.



  • Simmer bones in a stock pot with enough filtered water to cover plus 2 inches.  Watch pot and add water as needed.  Cook until bones fall loose and keel and joints are gelatinous.  (About 8 hours minimum, or overnight for best health benefits. See notes below!)
  • Place a sieve into a bowl large enough to catch all the liquid and then pour the contents of the stock pot through the sieve.  Lift bones and meat out of the broth and let cool in the sieve.  Save the broth!
  • Carefully sort out bones from meat and toss the bones.
  • Return broth and meat to the stock pot.  Add celery, carrots, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to the stock pot.
  • In a skillet, add olive oil and butter and heat to medium.  Add onion and saute till translucent and softened, add garlic and saute about 3 minutes more.  Do not let the garlic brown.  Add this to the stock pot.
  • If using rice add at this time.
  • Let simmer till all vegetables and the rice are tender.  Test for salt and add if necessary.
  • If using egg noodles add and cook per package directions



  • If you choose to use the noodles, and would prefer to let the soup sit overnight for flavor development (recommended!) then wait to add noodles to cook when you plan to serve it.
  • You may think that there will not be enough meat.  Surprisingly, if you didn’t pick at the carcass, there is more than enough meat to make a fine chicken soup!
  • I often hold chicken carcases in the freezer and cook down several in a large canning/stew pot and then save the excess in containers for soup starting at a later date.  In this case I was fortunate to have done the broth in advance!
  • Often broth, or bone soup instructions say to add chicken feet (gaack!) or vinegar to make the store-bought bones produce plenty of gelatin in the broth.  I have never had a problem with producing the gelatin from store-bought chicken bones.  It is quite apparent when I refrigerate my broth and it solidifies, that I have accomplished my goal without the use of the vinegar and the nasty feet.  The gelatin is released if the broth is cooked for a long enough time.  I recommend a minimum of 8 hours, and if cooking 24 hours (best) then use a crock pot.



An aside: I know someone will tell me it was the vaccine that did this, however, I got my flu shot in October.  I feel it is safe to assume it wasn’t the shot that gave me the flu… it just didn’t keep me from getting sick this year. 

33 thoughts on “Notes on the Flu and a Chicken Soup Recipe

  1. katechiconi says:

    I think my week was better than yours, by the sound of it! I make chicken soup from scratch at least once every 10 days. In fact, I make all my soups from scratch, and the Husband take soup to work every day in a Thermos. We haven’t had a cold for, well, since I can remember. I can thoroughly recommend curried pumpkin soup as a head-clearer, though, made with lots of curry paste and coconut cream instead of dairy. And if it doesn’t cure the blockage, you’ll definitely get an internal glow!

    • Lynda says:

      Kate, I make all my soups from scratch too. I can’t eat the ones in a can because they always give me a stomach ache. Your curried pumpkin soup sounds wonderful!

      • katechiconi says:

        Want the recipe? One onion, fried in butter in the bottom of a big stock pot. A quarter of a large hard pumpkin, skinned, seeded and cut into inch size chunks. Two large carrots, sliced, two big white potatoes, in inch size chunks, one sweet potato (yam), peeled and cut into inch size chunks. Two or three large tablespoons of mild or medium curry paste (not powder), one can coconut cream, and a load (say 3 or 4 pints) of fresh stock of whatever kind you like; it needs to cover the vegies with an inch or two over. Bring the stock and vegies to the boil and simmer for however long it takes for them to get soft. Blitz with a stick blender, stir in the curry paste and coconut cream, adjust the seasoning if you need to, and simmer for a little longer. I make a big container of this once a week, keep it in the fridge and just heat enough at a time in the microwave to fill the Husband’s Thermos mug. It’s good even if you’re not recuperating from flu!

  2. treadlemusic says:

    Thot: IF you HADN’T gotten the flu “shot”………….. and no, I don’t think it was the ‘shot’ (lol!)! I’m so glad you seem to be on the mend! It is nasty stuff. I remember a day, some 20 years ago & b/4 the vaccine, when I became deathly ill with “Type A” influenza and I wished (and looked) I would have died!!!! It was the same time that one of the Sesame Street/Muppet creators died of the same thing. I can totally understand the extent of this illness!!!!!! Hugs…..from a safe distance!………..

    • Lynda says:

      YES! Pre flu shot I too remember being sick for two weeks and having temps up into the 104 + range. You feel you’ve truly died and gone to hell. I’m certain this time round would have been much worse without the vaccine.

  3. bobraxton says:

    I think you and I were on the same flu batch and schedule. Your days and nights sound very much like mine day after day. Yes, I too can breathe – once again. despite having had the flu shot as well.

    • Lynda says:

      Yes, Bob, unfortunately, the bug morphed again after the vaccine was made for this year. Too terribly bad for us all! However, I firmly believe we would have been much worse without the shots.

    • Lynda says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Anita!
      As for the measles, did you never get your measles inoculation? Did your Dr. recommend that you not get the vaccine? Be safe, and stay healthy my friend! ❤

  4. shoreacres says:

    Every year they reformulate the vaccine, based on their best informed guess about which strains will be most prevalent. This year, they were a little off, and the effectiveness went from an initial 78 or 80 percent (can’t quite remember) to 30 per cent. C’est la vie.

    Honestly, my head is about to explode over the anti-vaxxers. When I was in Liberia, the mortality rate in the under-fives was 50 per cent. There were three causes: malaria, malnutrition and measles. The Liberian people said, “Don’t name your child until the measles has passed.” People in this country in their 20s and 30s never have experienced what it’s like to live with whooping cough, measles, polio…

    I heard today that west coast people are throwing measles and chicken pox parties, to give their children the diseases, so they’ll develop a natural immunity. That’s not so smart, especially now that there is a vaccine for chicken pox, too. Apparently no one has told them that only people who’ve had chicken pox can get shingles. When their kids are fighting the shingles — one of the worst scourges to afflict humanity — I’m not sure they’ll thank their parents.

    But I’m glad beyond words that you’re feeling better. I don’t know quite what it is about chicken soup, but it sure enough does work!

    • Lynda says:

      I agree, Linda! I remember the effects of measles, mumps, small pox, chicken pox, whooping cough scarlet fever and polio!

      Our principal in Jr. High had polio as a young man and it left him without the use of his arms. I remember the fears of scarlet fever and blindness. My friends that had it hid in their rooms with the shades drawn to protect their eyes.

      I remember my little sister nearly dying of whooping cough. She would cough until she fell onto the floor, and turn red, then blue, and then nearly pass out. It was horrifying!

      We all, for the most part had the chicken pox. I remember the ‘play dates’ parents arranged so their children could get them before they were adults. So the boys would not be rendered sterile as men. I remember the young parent at my preschool who got them from her little girl… she was so covered you couldn’t have put a pea between the lesions. Each day I picked up her daughter to take her to work with me, and then dropped her off at the end of my shift. She would meet me at the door in tears because she was so miserable.

      I remember mumps, measles too though I don’t remember them as being so deleterious feeling as the rest.

      I remember being vaccinated in school during the 60s. In recent history we had eradicated these illnesses here in the US. Then a nefarious man, *Andrew Wakefield, who wanted grant monies for his research lied about the connection between MMR and Autism. It has been proven that there is no association between the two, but once it was out there, it did not die thanks to social media and the internet.

      Yes, I remember these illnesses. It is too bad that young parents don’t remember them. I wonder how many children will have to die because our younger populace have believed a lie, and never saw the devastation of these illnesses that those of us in our late fifties and sixties remember with horror.

      Off my soapbox.

      *Andrew Wakefield: “A Discredited Vaccine Study’s Continuing Impact on Public Health”
      Look here to read about the risks and the discredited study:

  5. Littlesundog says:

    I never take the shot. I guess I’ve been lucky… I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling so bad. I keep bone broth on hand, and generally make a bone broth chicken vegetable soup every couple of weeks. That stuff is good for anything that ails ye! I hope you’re back to healthy soon!! 🙂

    • Lynda says:

      I am much better, thank you, Lori! Please be careful this flu season. This years virus is really a bad one and has closed down schools and whole school districts all around me this year. 😯

      With Asthma, Diabetes, and my age going against me, I am too afraid not to get the flu shot. I have simply been wiped out in the past from high fever and the aftermath of the flu. The last pre-immunization flu I had, put me to bed for a week with up to 104 temps and it took me over a month to fully recover from the illness.

      Skip the shot? Not an option for this old girl! 😉

  6. evilsquirrel13 says:

    I will admit, I am one of those who doubts the benefits of the flu vaccine. I have never gotten the flu shot, and have avoided the flu my entire adult life. My parents get the shot every year and are never as lucky…

    That said, I’m glad you are feeling better. It put me down for an entire week when I was only 10, and I know how awful it is…

    • Lynda says:

      Bill, your antibodies must be on steroids! LOL! I’ve managed to stay pretty healthy for the past six years, but this year I got slapped down and out with it. Maybe this antibody building experience will help me out for another six? One can only hope. 😀

  7. dogear6 says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better also.

    I make a ton of broth, but mine is unseasoned. Just an onion, some carrots and celery, a bay leaf, some peppercorns and 1 tsp of salt. I let it go 12 to 18 hours and usually get plenty of gelatin too. I do throw in 2 tbsp. of cider vinegar to help out with that. By the time it cooks up, the vinegar taste is gone.

    The house smells so good and it drives the dogs nuts. I share whatever meat comes off the bones (in small amounts) and the carrots and celery get mashed up for their dinner that night. If there’s any sludge in the bottom, I give that to them too. It’s edible, just not very tasty.

    The beagle was really sick a few years ago and stopped eating. I finally took over to the vet some thawed out of the dog remnants from the broth. He commented later on how wonderful it smelled and I said yep, all edible but not good for eating. The beagle did start eating again too when he got served that.


    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Nancy! Yes, the broth making process of the job does make the house smell nice! Because I’m not a big broth drinker I generally save the bone soup mix in batches in the freezer. Then I can make the chicken rice/noodle soup on demand. I’ve never thought of giving the ‘sludge’ to the dogs. Shame on me! I certainly will next time.

    • Lynda says:

      Stephanie, I do that all the time! But the worst one was in Costa Rica when visiting with friends. I was trying so hard to read and think in Spanish that when I came to a sign painted on the side of a restaurant I read it (phonetically) as “Say-ah food”. I passed the sign three days in a row in our travels with my friend who lives there and one day it popped! It said: Sea Food. And yes, chicken soup is great for what ails you, and so was all that garlic I added! I love garlic, but for those avoid the stinky herb, well, can you really taste it if your sinus is blocked? 😀

  8. daphnecybele says:

    We all got the vaccine early this fall, but as you said, this strain was different. My husband and son got it, I was able to prevent is with an Rx for Tamiflu. They also took Tamiflu, but after getting sick. My doc gave it to me as a preventative with sickness in the house. Worked very well I think! Glad you are feeling better.

    • Lynda says:

      Daphne, thank you. I have never tried the Tamiflu. Probably would, but when I do get sick, just as this time, I always try to convince myself that it is just a head cold. By the time I catch on, well, it is too late for that.

    • Lynda says:

      Yes it has been! Schools near to us in Huntsville and also Tennessee were closing due to the numbers of staff and students who were ill with it. I thought we had peaked here, but last night on the news they said the numbers are still climbing! We are ranked as one of the most infected states in the nation at the moment. 😛

  9. LB says:

    You are right, the vaccine did not give you this flu. So sorry you felt so badly, but thankfully are recovering! The soup looks delicious!
    Don’t over do too soon, Lynda!

  10. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    I’ve heard that they missed the mark altogether this year – after all, the vaccine is only a best-guess combination anyway – and, as always, the best offense is a good defense (and good on you for feeding your immune system; )

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Deb. Still glad for the shot, I know how horrible the flu can be without it. Temps of 104 are nothing to fool around with! (102.5 is bad enough!) Love the bone soup and I eat it as often as my husband will put up with in the winter. 😉

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