Friday, November 20, 2009

No chicken soup for you!

I think this week is the first in a few months that I've actually felt half-way decent. I've been able to drag myself out of bed in the mornings with a minimal amount of effort, I can stay upright and functioning most of the day, and I've even made it to karate class twice this week. Oh yeah, I've got this pain-in-the-ass sinus thing going on which isn't any fun, but over all I do feel pretty good.

I knew this year was going to be prime time for sicknesses in la Casar de Madden. You see, my youngest started preschool in September, and I know from experience that putting a child in a new environment with lots of other kids automatically means that the entire family is going to be infected with every disease that comes along. So far this year we've had strep throat, the flu, sinus infections, walking pneumonia and an ear infection spread amongst the lot of us. And those are just the diseases we can identify! I've been laid up twice since September by some weird unnamed malaise, where I get all the chills and the aches and general feeling of fatigue of the flu without the congestion or upset stomach that normally goes with it.

And have I been writing through all this? You betcha!

Like others have mentioned here, when I'm sick, I tend to push aside all non-writing tasks and just focus on the most important thing, the writing itself. I have a weekly deadline for the Heat Flash Erotica podcast and I don't want to bust that deadline under any circumstances. To ensure I do what I need to do, I will curl up in bed with my heating pad and my laptop and keeping tapping away at the keys until I've got my story done. Then I'll either fall asleep, take a long hot bath in the tub, or...

Go take care of my kids, because there are some non-writing related tasks that simply cannot be ignored.

(I would like to state here that I do not recommend being a writer and a parent and ill all at the same time. All three at once will just about kill a person some days.)

Thanks to Twitter, I've noticed that a lot of writers tend to be sick more often than not. We literary types are plagued by migraines, insomnia, ulcers and other ailments, and we talk (or tweet) about them constantly. It's as though we want the whole world to know we are suffering, but we are still producing our art. To hell with that, I say. I hate suffering. If I'm going to be sick while writing, I'm going to do my damnedest to be as comfortable as possible. You know what that means of course. Comfort food.

Now I do not do this "Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul" crap. Quite frankly, I hate chicken soup. Besides, chicken soup is not an appropriate soup for erotica writers. Erotica writers need something spicier, and meatier. When erotica writers get sick, they should all make themselves a pot of kielbasa-potato stew! What? You've not heard of this amazing delicacy? Because I love you all, I will share the recipe.


  • 3 cups water

  • 1 10.5 oz can of cream of chicken soup (okay, yes it has chicken soup in it, but it's still not chicken soup!)

  • 1 pound Polish kielbasa (Don't get cheap kielbasa! This thing should be long, and stiff, and meaty, and mouth-wateringly tasty! This is a stew for smut writers, people!)

  • 20 oz of frozen shredded potatoes, preferably Southwest style because they're so spicy (and we smut writers are all about the spicy!)

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Cut the kielbasa into 1/2 inch slices. Add all ingredients together in one pot. I prefer to make my stew in a slow cooker to bring out the flavor of the kielbasa, but if you're in a hurry, a big Dutch oven on the stove will do. Then just let everything cook until it's done (about 6 hours in the slow cooker, 30 minutes on the stove). Grab a bowl and eat up. Trust me, you will be feeling much better by the time you're done.

You see how much I love you? You see how much I care? Now go make me a pot of this stew, because I feel another cold coming on.



  1. Helen,

    Great post. I'm now off out to buy some kielbasa.

    Have a great weekend.



  2. Thank you Ashley! Enjoy your kielbasa!

  3. Spicy always works for version of "chicken soup" is tortilla soup, all those spices and tomatoes and peppers, and you can actually taste it. :)

  4. Sigh, well I love chicken soup, but I make mine with spice. LOL Oh, Helen, I've never heard of frozen shredded potatoes. Tell me you can use just ordinary shredded spuds please!

    I plan on feeling some hunky Kielbasa this weekend. I wonder if that's legal? Moral?


    I so remember the years of kids in school bringing home every crud in existence. Heck, we even tried head lice for a few days. Ick! An experience not to be repeated, I hope.

    Glad you're feeling better and hope you get a break from the next 'thing'


  5. "(I would like to state here that I do not recommend being a writer and a parent and ill all at the same time. All three at once will just about kill a person some days.)"

    I hear you hon. Add in college student to the list, and change three to four, and you have my life for the last few weeks/months. I too have been down with ye old sinus infection. Two rounds of antibiotics, with four additional meds, and it is finally clearing up.


    You get to feeling better! And hang in there. I admire the dedication to writing. Mine has gone by the wayside the last few weeks.

  6. Hi Helen!

    Food is love anywhere you go. Thanks for the recipe and hope you feel better. Where I live the great comfort food is Shrimp and Grits.


  7. Devon,

    I like tortilla soup too, but the kielbasa potato soup is the easiest thing for me to make, and when I'm sick, I'm lazy! LOL!

    Enjoy your weekend ;)

  8. Jude,

    Yes, you can use non-frozen shredded potatoes! We usually find the frozen kind in the breakfast section of the grocery store around here, but I'm willing to bet things are a little different up your way ;)

    I keep waiting to see what the kids bring home next. Every time the youngest one gets fussy, I worry she's picked up another virus. Yeesh, we've had a lot of illnesses in the past couple of months. Nothing too terribly bad though.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  9. Michelle,

    Oh hell no would I add 'college student' to my already long list of tasks! You're crazy, lady! :D

    I'm pretty sure as soon as you perk up a bit, your writing will pick back up. Writing is its own sort of disease that creeps in when we finally think we've gotten over everything else.

    Take care!

  10. Garce,

    OK, now you have to post the recipe for shrimp and grits. Hubster is allergic to shrimp, but that's okay. Just means more for me when I need some good culinary lovin'.

    Have a good weekend!

  11. Hello, Helen,

    You are a true heroine. I do hope your girls appreciate you -- eventually!

    (I love the way you show them growing older in your Cynical Woman cartoons.)

    I make kielbasa stew, too. A little different, using parsnips and turnips as well as chunks of potato, with lots of pepper and some garlic, too. (Garlic will cure anything, I'm convinced. Even if it won't, I love it!) Sometimes I make the same dish with linguica, a Portuguese sausage, equally spicy but with a different sort of taste.) But when I'm sick I want something lighter.

    Chicken noodles in soup here in Asia has lots of garlic...and for condiments you put in dried chilis. Really helps with a sore throat!

    Hope you are permanently well now!


  12. Lisabet,

    Sometime, you and I are going to have to exchange recipes, you know that? I want your soup the next time I'm feeling under the weather!