Chicken Soup to Fight Colds


Description (What is being performed):

When one catches a cold, chicken noodle soup, whether it be homemade or store bought, is administered to lesson the symptoms.


The Informant (Background info about performance from informant):

Me: “What is this solution for the cold I hear you know?”

Informant: “Well if you got the sniffles or any sort of cold, you drink my homemade chicken soup and it makes you feel better.”

Me: “Is this specific to your soup (laughs)”

Informant: “I like to think so (laughs), but really it’s just chicken noodle soup.  You don’t want to drink that canned stuff though…Too much salt.”

Me: “How did you become aware of this?”

Informant: “My mother gave it to me as did her mother.”

Me: “And you continued to carry this tradition on, why?”

Informant: “It’s always worked for me and anyone who I’ve given it to. Maybe not cure the cold immeditely, but makes you feel a lot better.”

Me: “What does it mean to you?”

Informant: ” What does it mean? Well it’s family tradition. It’s cheap and taste good too. Kills three birds with one stone.”

Me: “Anything else you can say about this?”

Informant: “Never buy the canned stuff.”


The Analysis (My Thoughts): 

It is to my understanding that much of why the informant continues to carry out this bit of folk medicine is that it’s a remedy for a cold that serves multiple functions and because of the nature of these functions it’s worth keeping around. These include as she states the affordableness of the solution, the ability to feed and the honoring of tradition. She also states that it may not competely heal the cold upon drinking it and may take time which makes me question its legitimacy. It’s likely she may associate the natural decline of the cold from rest with the constant drinking of the soup as a casually related situation. Furthering the idea that it’s cheap and in fact honors this familial tradition probably also causes her to not question the efficacy of this homeopathic solution. Although it is worth noting that drinking chicken noodle soup to mitigate a cold is a long standing tradition amongst many people. One reason may be its immunity boosting properties. This in itself does not mitigate existing illnesses, but instead prevents from worsening or capturing new ones, which means the effectivness of the remedy may be partly psychological.

Something else to note is the informants repeated cyanacism towards “that canned stuff”. Her dislike for it shows her affinity for the homemade much like the remedy itself is. This may say something about the informant as having some sort of naturalistic outlook.