By: Nechama Krimmer

My grandmother always makes her special chicken soup. She learned to make soup from her mother who learned from her mother. This special chicken soup has been passed through the generations to keep a family tradition, and to make holidays special.

Chicken soup has been known to help people get over the common cold. It’s known as the “Jewish Penicillin” because it cures every part of your body and soul. My grandmother takes her time and effort to make my family and I have a good time whenever we get together for a holiday or family gathering.

Every year, my father and I go to Florida to visit my cousins and grandparents. They go there for three months during the winter to enjoy the nice weather and visit some of their friends who live there. When I was younger, my father and I went to visit them. We went for a week, and, on Thursday before Shabbos, my grandmother and I went to the market and bought some ingredients to make her famous chicken soup. When we got home from the store we went into the kitchen to start cooking. She had me peel and cut the vegetables while she made the broth and matzo balls.

She told me that we have to put a lot of effort into every ingredient to make the chicken soup the best it can be. It says in the Ethics of our Father, “Lifum Tzara Agra”, which translates to, “The more work you put into something, the more benefit you receive”. When an opportunity comes your way do the best you can because you may never be able to do it again.

It is very special to my grandmother and me to be able to spend this time bonding, cooking, and learning more about each other in a way that going shopping, swimming, or just eating a meal with someone wouldn’t do. It’s very meaningful to have the leisure to be able to make a connection with my grandparents that a lot of people can not necessarily do all of the time. I am glad that I am able to have a good relationship with my grandparents and elderly people in general. It’s special to get to know people who have a lot more experience in life than I do. It is very fun and interesting to hear stories from people who lived before me. When elderly people tell me stories about their past, and even their ancestors before them, I feel like I have a connection with the people who the story is about. I like to hear stories of the past, even if they aren’t exactly the finest cup of tea.

When Shabbos came around we lit the candles and made the blessing. We davened with much intent, and we were thankful that all of us are able to join together for a wonderful time. My father made the Kiddush and we went to wash our hands for bread. He made the blessing on the Challah, we ate salad and fish. Then it came time for the soup. My grandmother and I went into the kitchen and got out four bowls. I watched as she took the ladle and put it into the boiling pot of soup. When she took the ladle out of the pot I sat there, enjoying the delicious smell that filled the room. My grandmother gave me the bowl to put on the table. As I walked to the dining room, I knew that this is the soup that I will be giving my grandchildren. I put the bowl on the table and saw my grandfather sniff up the pleasant smell of the chicken soup. When he sipped his soup, I could see the joy and delight in his eyes. I went back to the kitchen to get another bowl and took it to the table. My grandmother finished filling the fourth bowl and carried the rest of them to the table. We sat down to eat. When I took my spoon in my hand, I was so excited to eat the soup, as it smelled so good. I took the soup on my spoon and put it in my mouth. I smiled as I swallowed the wonderful soup.

My grandmother saw the smile on my face, and she smiled to. She said, “I’m glad you like the soup, honey.”

“Thank you for showing me how to make your amazing soup. I would love to make it again with you!” I replied.

We enjoyed the satisfying soup in peace and quiet, because we were all trying to get the best out of every last spoonful. When you see how much effort someone puts into something, when the final product comes, you appreciate it all the more.

Everyone can just go to the store and buy a package of chicken soup and just warm it up at home, but it wouldn’t taste the same. When you eat home-made chicken soup, you could taste the effort and freshness that was put into it. In addition, you get a bond with the people who you make it and share it with.