There was a husband, what the heck was his name? Anyway he fell ill, this was wintertime and we were living in Paris. I said ‘No worries darling I’ll take care of you!’ and I thought, how does one care for the sick?
Chicken soup of course. Off I went to a butcher and that’s where the problems began. I stared through a glass case full of chunks of meat and despite the fact my French is fluent I had no idea what to ask for, nothing looked remotely like what I had seen on plates delivered by waiters or butlers.
The butcher was impatiently asking what parts I wanted, what type of meat I wanted, how much did I need, I said I don’t know, I’m making a soup. He spat up some guttural noises the way the French do and told me to buy a whole chicken. Fine, ‘Oui Monsieur, merci Monsieur’ and home I went with this hideous plucked but heavy football. I dumped it in a pot of water and because I’m not an idiot I set it to medium, not high! And waited. Eventually the water bubbled up and I proudly believed a healing home-cooked dinner was in the offing.
Unfortunately the chicken and water experiment had not cooperated and had not turned itself into a soup. No, au contraire, now the chicken was a hiking boot of durable leather. Hubby refused to so much as taste this boot, so I poured some of the boiled water into a cup for him.
The husband had misery in his eyes as he sniffed at the cup.
‘I don’t want tea!’
‘It’s not tea!’ I laughed at him, ‘Silly! It’s chicken soup’.
But no, he could not be convinced, and that night he continued to sneeze and cough and we went to bed hungry. My cooking never improved. I wouldn’t say that’s what ruined our marriage but it probably didn’t help.