Semi-feverish rambling Armitage picspam about soup and romance. More or less. This title isn’t very good.

So I have a bunch of stuff regarding Armitage half written, but this is not going to be the day when anything beautiful coheres. Also I wrote a lot of email today.

Now there’s some coherent beauty. Richard Armitage in Strike Back 1.6. I had sort of forgotten about these eyes until Jane asked for a cap with the green scarf in her interview. Oh, oh, oh. Source:

Yes, I am really sick. And I didn’t have a chance to make The Soup. You know, The Soup that some people’s mothers made for them when they were sick. My mother is not very sweetly motherly (think: Mrs. Thornton), but her motherliness still extended to making The Soup.

[At left: Sinead Cusack as Mr. Thornton in North & South. Do you think she made her son That Soup?]

This dish is not complicated; it’s one of the easiest things in the world to make; and it always turns out right, which makes it rewarding: Saute a little onion and celery and parsnip or celery root if you have it in butter, take a whole chicken (cleaned) and put it in the pot, add a bay leaf and a bunch of black peppercorns, peeled whole garlic clove optional (my mom didn’t), cover everything with water, salt, and then cook until the chicken falls off the bones. Cool, pick the carcass clean (this step is the main reason people don’t make it more often, I am convinced, but it’s not that difficult, just a little slippery), sieve all the inedible stuff out of the broth and discard, put the meat back in. Skim off some of the fat, but not all of it, because a little chicken fat is good for an invalid. My mom always cooked the carrots (cut in largish diagonalish coins) *after* the soup was done because we didn’t like mushy carrots. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. If you’re not satisfied with the intensity of the broth you can cheat by adding a bouillon cube, although you shouldn’t do this for invalids, as bouillon is mostly salt, and invalids don’t need to be retaining water. If you need a carbohydrate (most invalids don’t, and are better served by lighter fare), you can toast a piece of sourdough bread and put it in the bowl before you ladle the soup on top of it. Or you could cook rice or noodles in the broth. Or make dumplings. Or matzah balls. Though even a single matzah ball will knock an invalid flat like a hurricane. But if you *do* make matzah balls, use some of the chicken fat you skimmed off the broth instead of vegetable oil. Trust, me, you’ll never go back …

The doctor I saw this morning did not look like this. He may have been more competent. Richard Armitage in Doctors. Source:

I digress. I still have a 101° fever. After four days, sigh. Says the doctor, whom I finally sought out today: “you are really sick.” I had noticed that, even in my feverish state. Supposedly, this is the upswing.

You know: That Soup. My best friend in college, who unfortunately grew up without a mother, still remembers the times when I made it for her. The physicist, when we broke up, asked me for the recipe — stating explicitly that the one thing he really wanted to take away from our relationship was the soup. Ex-SO was rather more skeptical; I don’t think homemade chicken soup plays the emotional role in German culture it does in the U.S. That Soup. The one I didn’t make on Monday because I didn’t think I was really That Sick.

That was a mistake.

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) and Higgins (Brendan Coyle) eat some stew together in episode 4 of North & South, and it’s really very good. Still not That Soup, though. Source:

When I know I’m getting really sick I have this whole prophylactic routine I follow. I’m sure it’s primarily of psychological value. I make The Soup. I make my bed. I turn the heat up really high and close the windows and the curtains. I eat as much soup as I can and brew a big thermos of gunpowder tea. I put on all the clothes I can stand, crawl under all the covers I can tolerate, drink as much gunpowder as I can, and when I am not drinking tea, I suck aggressively on sugarless throat lozenges. All the lights are turned off in the room, which must be as dark and as silent as possible. I lie in bed and if I can’t sleep, I doze. No reading, tv watching, music listening, or, if possible, thinking allowed. If I am sick enough to be doing this, I’m usually not well enough to be thinking, anyway. And: childhood lesson: If you are trying to get better, you must be really concentrating on the problem. For as long as you can stand it. Which is usually no more than about eight hours, unless I’m sleeping. Childhood lesson the second: lying abed is a morally questionable activity. Which is probably why I love it so much.

I should have done that on Monday, but didn’t because I wasn’t feeling That Sick. Tuesday was a disaster — twelve-hour teaching day that I barely got through and only pursued to its close because canceling an evening class is missing a whole week. As a consequence of which I was forced to do the ritual, finally, on Wednesday, when I was That Sick, and again yesterday (forced to cancel classes), and again today, except I no longer had the stamina to make The Soup. I was forced to conduct the whole ritual with phở gà (Viet chicken soup with noodles), and it just isn’t quite the same. Don’t get me wrong, it was good — and that poor delivery guy who’s come to my apartment now four or five times with the phở gà is getting really concerned about me. His English isn’t that great, but today he patted me on the shoulder when he gave me the bag with the phở gà in it.

There’s some weird missing logical transition here that I can’t figure out just now. I’ll just leave it out. I do have a fever.

Something I’d love to be doing in bed. Porter (Richard Armitage) kisses Danni (Shelly Conn) while they are cramming for his mission as a ballistic weapons profiteer in Strike Back 1.5. Source:

Anyway, when I am sick my libido goes to h***. Which is fine because the “concentrate on getting better” ritual is not supposed to be an opportunity for unfettered indulgence in sexual fantasy, which is more or less my go to activity when I’m lying on my back, in bed, or when I’m lying on my side, in bed, or when I’m lying on my stomach, in bed. This may be why lying in bed was considered morally questionable. This may be why I love it so much. Anyway, any other day I’d just fantasize myself into some liplock with Porter, but I’m not supposed to be fantasizing about kissing or anything else when I’m sick. Clear the throat, clear the sinuses, clear the mind — clear the illness.

But I’ve said before that I think Armitagemania is affecting my fantasies, and the last few days I’ve just been trapped in the thought of lying in Porter’s arms, while sick, with him stroking me. This is not me. I’m not cuddly. My best friend from college (referenced above) has said a few times that she’s worried about me — having never indulged in romantic or sweet fantasy before, I seem to her to be taking dangerous steps. What happens when the fantasy is over? she’s asked more than once when I’ve discussed Armitagemania with her. What happens when there’s no romantic hero waiting for you?

It’s one of those questions I can’t really answer, although I’ve started to wonder if one important reason that romance in the traditional sense (I don’t mean sex, or love — I’ve had both of those things) has never happened to me is that I have had no expectation that it would. I’ve been preoccupied with other things. I can’t be bothered now to think of the bad things that might happen later, though, and as with most things I think I’ll deal with the consequence when it materializes.

Meanwhile I just want to be in bed with John Porter petting me and telling me the fever will be over soon. With my head on his shoulder and my arm over his stomach. It doesn’t even matter to me that it doesn’t seem like Porter’s the kind of guy to play motherly nursemaid. I just don’t care.

Excuse me while I go back there.

~ by Servetus on January 21, 2012.

60 Responses to “Semi-feverish rambling Armitage picspam about soup and romance. More or less. This title isn’t very good.”

  1. You do sound pretty sick. I have my traditions for illness too, which also includes chicken soup. I make mine with chicken feet.

    • There’s something sort of anthropologically prophylactic about taking the feet, I think. Like they’ll pep up the immune system …

  2. I am sorry to read you are not feeling well, but you do make me laugh (over and over again) I make a pretty phở gà btw, extra chillies and lemongrass, love it -YUM. I admit it’s a lot different to the chicken soup you refer to.
    My mother’s remedy for flu/colds was flat lemonade topped up with freshly squeezed lemon juice, never really did understand it. Perhaps we just had abundance of lemons!!

    Rest up, pop a RA video on (and the timer) and drift off to healing sleep with Richard’s voice in the background. Get well soon xox

    • I really hate being sick, so laughter is the only out, I assume. I think the chiles are a great idea, just not from my cultural background.

  3. Sending a gallon of That Soup by telepathy; wish it could take a rather more “corporeal” form. Filing this post for next time I’m sick. Very touched by the delivery guy – how sweet! And Porter is very fatherly. Take care, get that fever down.

  4. EWWWWWW,b!!!!! I’ve heard of Fried Chicken Feet, but in a soup? EWWWWW! Serv, get well soon. Elderberry juice is key. Seriously. Along with chicken soup w/o feet. ewwwwwwwwwww!

  5. Chicken soup is very important in German traditional healing. I am not sure if I should reveal the times it is specially recommended ;o)
    But it is for all things connected with female illnesses and especially when women are weakest and need to recover (you perhaps get the connection I want to make ;o)
    My mother made ‘The Soup’ when I was very young and I can remember that I was the one in the family who protested very loudly. Not against the resulting soup – I love the soup, but against the smell while the chicken is cooking. I can’t stand the smell and it is one of the few things, where the strong aversion from childhood still remains. (I must go into quarantine, as I become very green in the face when I smell it, but I can come back later, when it is ready ;o)
    I hope the soup helps you and you feel better soon!!!
    All the best to you, Servetus!

    • aha, so the problem was that I was offering the soup for the wrong thing, I guess. Ex-SO not being the type to do what you refer to.

      I agree it has a particular smell when it’s cooking.

  6. A friend made me an almost identical soup – including a little of the chicken fat – when I was ill some years back and I still remember how it revived me. As well as cracking open the leg bones to get all the good out of them, she also included fresh ginger root in her recipe and it was basically just the clear broth she gave me to begin with. It was only once I was feeling a lot better that she allowed me to have some chicken meat in it. Thanks for reminding me of it! I think I’ll have to make some soon! 🙂

    “These eyes” below are what greeted me when I switched on my computer this morning! Oh my indeed! 😀

    I hope you will soon be feeling better!

    • ginger is a great idea — so invigorating. No one brought up Tom Kha Gai, either, which gets a lot of its taste from galanga — a similar root.

  7. Be well soon.

  8. Even after nearly forty years I still have a vivid memory of a bad dose of flu. As a student living away from home, my close friend, whose parents were Polish, took me to her home where her mother bundled me up in bed in the spare room and fed me chicken soup all weekend. I recovered quite quickly without needing a visit to the doctor!

    I hope you are feeling better servetus, take care of yourself.

  9. Please take care of yourself and let Porter work his magic. I know about The Soup, and tzibble is a gift from God, but RA and antibiotics potentiate its effects. I know; without all of these, I would not have survived influenza in Nov/Dec. Whisky with lemon, honey, and hot water also helped. Sending healing thoughts and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.

    • (smiles to hear the name tzibble again. Haven’t heard that in awhile).

      The doctor said I didn’t need antibiotics, which is fine with me. My experience is they kill all my stomach flora.

  10. Get JP to rub vicks vapor rub on your feet and then wear some socks to bed along with all the other clothes you’re putting on. It seems to help my son who is prone to respiratory problems.

    • mmm, love the rubbed feet. You know, my mom didn’t do Vicks. Although I know it helps people a lot. But I never got into the habit.

      Your son is lucky to have you and will remember this little detail his whole life, sloan.

  11. Awwww! Poor you! Just visualizing the vietnamese soup delivery guy patting your shoulder really broke my heart!
    You work too hard even when you are sick — willing yourself to feel better, fantasizing and then feeling guilty about about not working on willing yourself better! It exhausts me to imagine it! 🙂 Not to mention all those emails you have been busy with!
    I wonder about the physicist who wanted your chicken soup recipe… did you give it to him? (Did he deserve it?)
    I hope you feel better soon. I guess it might be your body’s way of telling you to slow down, take a break, eat soup, lie in bed and fantasize … and don’t feel guilty! LOL

    • I think it was the only way the physicist could say “it mattered to me that you were solicitous.” People have funny way of saying things sometimes (me included).

      And yes, how I tie myself up in knots.

      This is the second time I’ve been sick this academic year and I’m attributing it to life in a part of the country where I don’t know the germs yet 🙂

      • oh, and yeah, I did give it to him. Why not? 🙂 It’s not like it’s a state secret. Pretty much everyone makes this soup the same way with slight variations.

  12. My Mom always rubbed Vicks on my chest! 😀

    I used Vicks on my kids and still use it myself all these years later as I can’t take decongestants. Great stuff – although a hot whisky toddy can help too!!

    • yeah, I don’t take decongestants unless I can’t breathe and have to be somewhere. Also don’t take fever reducer unless I’m above 102. I figure I’m still in a state of health where I can allow my body to fight these things off without interfering.

  13. Two distinct memories of my chilhood–the scent of Vicks Vapo-Rub. and the sound of my vaporizer hissing. I was constantly battling sinus and allergy issues as a child . . . my mom, who was a wonderful cook, just relied on Campbell’s in terms of chicken soup for a sickly family member. And when my tummy is troubled, I want a Coke and saltine crackers. Because that is what I got as a child.

    Get well soon, Serv. Do you know how I knew I was getting better from the busted tailbone? I started feeling frisky again. I couldn’t actually DO much of anything beyond a bit of canoodling with my Benny; still, it was a step forward. 😉 Your day will come.

    • Ah, the vaporizer. We had one of those too. I remember my brother getting it more than me, though. Your mom also had more kids than mine did. I think that makes a difference. We got The Soup homemade because there weren’t many of us and we were not often sick. I don’t know if I’d want to make that every week myself.

      Ah, the libido. A wonderful thing. And when it’s functioning one just feels so much better 🙂

  14. Uh, that sounds nasty. If Porter helps you to get better, I shouldn’t have spoken so harshly about him. We have the soup tradition as well, but these days are mostly relying on the variety in cans.

    • Well, I told you I didn’t agree with everything you said. Maybe I’ll publish a defense of SB one of these days. I think you were right in everything you said about its professional value to him as a role. And I agree that the fact that I can look at in the way I do has a lot to do with not being a post-WW2 German. (And maybe with not having such stringent definitions of what great art is as you do.) But / and: I also think, whatever it probably didn’t do for his career, it was a spectacular performance, and one that always moves me and makes me think when I see it.

  15. My dad is a pigeon breeder(his hobby).He is not an emotional men(well,his parents were not to affectionate)but when someone close is really sick he kills one of his favorite birds(you remember Guy’ face after killing Marian?) and makes soup with a huge portion of vegetables. One more thing,in time of sicness we drink tea with lemon juice(oh I know spooky!;) and with honey linden.

    • What a loving thing to do. It’s a reminder that the Mrs. Thorntons of the world are also loving mothers — what you do is as much a way of loving as what you say. What a sweet story.

  16. Hope you feel better soon, Serv.

  17. Sending good energy from South America. Hope you’re already feeling better!!! 😉

  18. My daughter just discovered the joys of Vicks this week (she’s 22). I feel like such a bad mom, no Vicks on the chest and no chicken soup for her(I’m a vegetarian).

    Lots of tea with lemon and honey, though. She HATED it!!

    She obviously has no pleasant memories of illness rituals from childhood and will therefore shortly be needing therapy because of it. LOL!

    Thankfully she’s now doing well despite my poor mothering skills in her youth. Hope you’re on the mend, too, Serv. Let JP work his magic!!

    • I’m sure vegetable soup would have had the same effect.

      My mom had this thing about how being home sick should not be especially pleasant. (She sent me and my brother to school with measles, rubella, chicken pox, and strep throat repeatedly because she just refused to believe that we were sick enough to stay home.) So the chicken soup was from her perspective just something necessary for the invalid. However, it figures into my memories of my childhood heavily. So I am sure that your daughter will have memories of whatever it was that you did.

      I can imagine tea would be a hard sell for a little kid, though 🙂

  19. Get well soon. You have all the best remedies available to you. Vicks, sleep, soup, JP’s arms, ah, you will be better in no time.

  20. …… and please don’t feel guilty resting a bit and indulging in your favourite thoughts and feelings….

  21. I hope you feel better. I would make that soup for U anytime. You touched on that guilt about being sick, stopping and taking care of yourself. Do all women have that gene? I used to get chronic migraines and would push until I couldn’t see and was laid out on back in the dark. Why do we do this to ourselves. I could see Porter has the cuddly type. 🙂

    • I think that we’re socialized to feel anxious / bad / worried if we’re not doing something. Or many of us are. I worry about how I’ll put the narrative strand of my classes back together. I’d have been much less sick if I’d called Tuesday, but I couldn’t bear the thought of canceling the equivalent of an entire week of class. They wouldn’t have minded.

      What I should write about next is the way that themes of helplessness / childishness sneak into romantic feelings. That’s what occurred to me last night while laying in Porter’s arms in my imagination — that I wanted to be his daughter as much as his lover.

      • I always have a hard time judging how sick I am. Always! I tend to push through until I cant.

        I think our lovers are our fathers, brothers, sisters. I dated this sweet guy in HS who was mature beyond his years. He was just a good egg. I was feeling once sick and he told me — “We all need to be babied from time to time.” Isn’t that sweet?

        I think there are times when are partners bec our parents/caretakers and vice versa. Loving someone is the ultimate leap of faith and can make us feel helpless — like a child.

        • or we’re taught to ignore the signs of illness / think they don’t matter in our case / think we can outrun them. Hah.

          I think fever is a key situation in which my control freakitude comes to bad expression. There’s nothing I can do except do nothing, and I HATE it.

  22. @Joanna…what is honey linden? Whiskey, honey and lemon juice was the tonic we got as kids. And Vicks. Lots of Vicks. The rubbing it on the feet thing is something that has really caught on in the last few years but don’t forget to put socks on over the mess!!!

    Lemon juice makes perfect sense. Loaded w/Vit. C and cuts the gook in the back of your throat. REally. In my voice contest days, my vocal teacher had us make thermoses of hot water with about 1/2 lemon squeezed in. Wasn’t too tart and really cleared your throat so you could warble your best!

    Feeling better today? 🙂

    • honey linden: honey made by bees who feed from linden trees. It’s supposed to have strong antibacterial properties, Germans tell me. Eating a spoonful of local honey every day is also supposed to be a good hedge against allergies.

      • Unless, you have an allergy on honey,The Queen.:D
        Thanks Servetus! ‘Jewish antibiotic’- so my Mom called broth:)

        • LOL…and crap. If I’d just sloooow down, I’d get the right ID. So much for being under the radar! LOL!

          OK, got the linden honey…I was thinking a linden something made with honey instead of the other way around.

          I come from a long line of bee people (one of my RL names even means “the bee” in Hebrew) and I’ve kept bees myself. We had mesquite honey, clover honey, melon honey, bee-brush honey…lots of work. Lots and lots. But honey along with the wax is is considered Food for the Soul and fights allergies. Oh and sourwood honey from TN is extraordinary!

  23. All the best for you, Servetus- get well soon! John Porter seems to be a good cure- just thinking of his ” Brave, girl, brave girl. We’ll get through this…”. Love this scene with Katie!

    BTW, today the German trailer for the Hobbit came out. It can be seen on youtube. I am still in shock and completely aghast because of the terrible dubbing. Thorin’s voice is simply dreadful, doesn’t fit him at all- much too high. With this dubbed voice he sounds like Rumpelstiltskin or a smurf 😦 . They even dubbed the singing- and the new version is nowhere near the original. I find Gandalf’s and Bilbo’s voices no match either. I can only hope that this is not the final version !

  24. […] for Nimue for the tip, and yes, I agree with her. Really poor voicing choice; the timbre and pitch of this […]

  25. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes. I’m definitely on the mend today and that’s probably why ! 🙂

  26. I have to share this: my mother, who doesn’t know about this blog, just sent me her weekly email summarizing everything that happened at home, and she (who’s been as sick as sick could be these last two years) said: “I feel certain the reason that you are so often sick in January is that you are not at home. If you were here, I would make soup for you.”

  27. That is so sweet!

  28. […] the morning, when I got home from shopping, I made That Soup for my mother. Easy this time. No solids allowed so I didn’t have to pick the carcass. I […]

  29. […] you consider sharing it with me in the comments? Soup is all I want to eat lately. I’ve made That Soup, but would appreciate other suggestions or favorites of yours. Don’t assume anything about […]

  30. […] I’m getting sick. I hope to be publishing something I’m writing tomorrow, but if not, you know where I am. Just me and That Soup. […]

  31. […] hard. I’ve got a severe fall cold, but it feels like a summer cold. It’s time for That Soup, though it still feels too warm to eat […]

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