If you have a cold (or even if you just feel like you're coming down with a cold), make a pot of this soup, and eat a nice big bowl. Then eat a handful of vitamin C, have another bowl of soup, and make a pot of Red Zinger tea with lots of lemon, orange, and honey. Wrap up in a blanket with your pot of tea, and read until you feel drowsy. Then go to bed, even if it's only 8 o'clock. Listen to mama.

Shopping list:

Step One: The Broth of Life.

This will take some time, so you might want to sit down on your couch with your cutting board and turn on telly. Oh, and put your pork or chicken in the freezer. Not to freeze, but to firm it up so it will slice very thin, in a little while.

The whole head of garlic needs to be disassembled, peeled, and sliced (I like to slice lenghtwise, 3-4 slices per clove).

Heat a generous dollop of olive oil in your soup pot or large saucepan, and gently sautee all of the garlic (yes, all of it!) with a shake of salt, until it just begins to color. Add 1 t. sweet paprika, and 1 t. hot paprika, and moosh it about until it toasts up a bit in the garlic and the olive oil. Pour in chicken broth, and the beans (drain and rinse beans first) and bring to a sourire (that boil that just curves around the edge of the pot).

Step Two: Goodness is in the Details.

While the broth is simmering away, slice your pork chop or chicken breast into very, very thin slices or slivers. Drain can of olives. Trim sugar snap peas, if fresh. Rinse under warm water if frozen. Once all is ready, toss in your meat and stir the soup well, bringing it back to a boil. The meat will poach quickly in the broth, and it's important to only let it go 'til just cooked, for the sake of tenderness. Turn off heat when the meat is cooked. Add sugar snap peas and let them heat through. Add black olives. Soup should still be very hot, if not, reheat gently.

This soup gets better and better with time. By the third day, it is perfection in a bowl, gently reheated. It is rich, but not too rich. Filling, but not in a bad way. Nourishing and immune-system building, but easy to make.

Step Three: Be Good to Yourself

After soup, pot of tea with lemon and honey, and slices of orange and ginger snap cookies to nibble on (if you still want them after all that soup). Curl up with a book. My favorite I'm-sick-and-want-to-read-in-bed-all day books: Jane Eyre, The Stand (yes, I know that's twisted), The House of Mirth, Pride and Prejudice, and The Diamond Age. Also, anything by Terry Pratchett. (This may require a quick trip to the store, but you're entitled to wear your pyjamas out, with a coat on top and hiking boots or your bunny slippers. You're sick. If anyone tries to get all no-shoes-no-service on you, cough as phlegmily as you can in their general direction.)

Be well.

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