Chicken Soup


This year I made it one of my resolutions to cook my way through a cooking book and for some reason (completely unknown know to me at the time) I chose, ‘The Year of Miracles‘ by Ella Risbridger, this was an odd choice because I didn’t particularly enjoy Ella’s last cooking book, ‘Midnight Chicken‘ (you can read my review here) However, I made my choice in December after listening to Sentimental Garbage, a podcast that I always find myself listening to on Christmas Eve as I frantically race around the city trying to get presents before the shops close. Ella and her best friend Caroline sit down for a cosy chat about a suitably sentimental topic, previous episodes have been on the Mitford’s, Children’s books, Norah Ephron and Little Women (I listen and re listen to them all as I look around Liberty’s.) I’m not only persuaded to pick up ‘The Pursuit of Love‘ by Nancy Mitford (an absolutely wonderful read) but also Ella’s cookery book.

It is now July and I have had one of those years, anything that could go wrong, has. I have found reading and cooking deeply nourishing and Ella’s words have comforted me. So many of the recipes encourage you to use what you have, you throw things in from the back of the fridge and more often than not it all works out. Today I am making chicken soup because I have left over chicken and as Ella writes, ‘when the feeling persists – the bad feeling – there is only one way out. The way is chicken soup.’

“In every house someone is crying, or wanting to cry, and what can you say? What can you say except that you’re lucky in the grand scheme of things, because you’re here, and thank God for that – the chicken soup is simmering on the stove?”

Ella Risbridger, The Year of Miracles

Some other things that have felt like a bowl of chicken soup this month include:

The Centre

Published by Picador

Anisa Ellahi spends her days writing subtitles for Bollywood films in her London flat, all the while longing to be a translator of ‘great works of literature’. Her boyfriend Adam’s extraordinary aptitude for languages only makes her feel worse, but when Adam learns to speak Urdu practically overnight, Anisa forces him to reveal his secret. Adam tells Anisa about the Centre, an elite, invite-only programme that guarantees total fluency in any language in just ten days. Sceptical but intrigued, Anisa enrols. Stripped of her belongings and contact with the outside world, she undergoes the Centre’s strange and rigorous processes. But as she enmeshes herself further within the organization, seduced by all that it’s made possible, she soon realizes the disturbing, hidden cost of its services.”

I wouldn’t usually go for a thriller but I loved this, I listened on Audible (I know, I KN0W) and it was so pacy which is something I’ve been missing in some of my recent reads. Fantastically narrated by Balvinder Sopal. A little bit surreal. Totally original. Ayesha writes beautifully about the Art of translation, a topic that I find endlessly interesting. The book really made me think, if I could learn any language (with very minimal effort) what would I learn and why?

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost

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