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Writing about Making Chicken Soup for the Body and Soul

Writing about making chicken soup was not on the top of my list of things to do today, but then I thought, well, why the heck not?

It was like this: I heard some really, really, really bad news. My uncle lost his battle with cancer.

I was shopping for groceries when I heard the news, so I did my best to make my eyes suck back their tears and moved on.

When I got back home, I noticed that on hazy-eyed autopilot, I had picked out the right ingredients for a chicken soup.

I chopped the onions, enjoying the stinging in my eyes and the excuse to cry, chucking in some ginger powder once the onions were fried and breathing in the aroma, sprinkling in some basil just for a little flavor.

I added the fat leg of chicken and let it sizzle, chucked in mushrooms, leek, carrots, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar and let the whole thing stew in its own juices, while I stewed in mine, trying to keep it all in.

In went a can of whole peeled tomatoes, two cans of organic chicken broth, and then it was all set to simmer. I tore up some lemon thyme, added that, and as the place filled up with the fresh, nourishing, inviting smell, I felt somewhat calmer. My hands were not shaking that much any more, either.

I have been wondering about death for some time now, and have tried to reason it out in my writing , but this is the first time I tried cooking, and it literally turned out to be Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul!

From there on, I went blog browsing, and while I came across posts like this one (a huge coincidence, cos I lost my uncle to lung cancer too), I also found one that lovingly reminded me of all the right things to think about when faced with the death of a loved one.

By this time, the chicken soup was ready.

I was ready as well, to come to terms with the fact that someone I loved and respected had gone on ahead, and was suffering no more.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • lc says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your uncle’s passing. Yet you managed to make one fantastic stew AND wrote about the process with such beautiful clarity. Strange how we deal with grief in our own, individual ways, isn’t it? I hope you find some comfort and a measure of grace in the days to come. I hope you’ve allowed some tears to fall, as well. Thanks for posting this. It made me sad [and hungry].

    Best, ALWAYS, lc

  • damyantig says:




    Thank you all so much: I am sure I have no better words for you all. Thank you. Thank you.

  • damyantig says:

    Thanks for your long comment and the link. I appreciate both more than you will know.

  • Alyson says:

    Isn’t it wondeful the way the subconcious seeks to comfort and nourish us, when our conscious self is in shock? I wish you well.

  • indigobunting says:

    This is a beautiful post.

  • Kym says:

    Your piece made me see the stages of grief you went through. Beautifully written. I’m sure you have many more stages yet to go–may the stages go easy.

  • jeques says:

    I’m sorry about your loss. Who could understand it better than someone who has just lost not only one but two in the family this year. I understand you know the passing away of my father last January and my untimely coming home to the Philippines that month. 2 days after I went back here in Chicago last February, my aunt also passed away ending her battle with(what a coincidence!) lung cancer. They were both diagnosed with cancer in 2004.

    As I look back now, I have already come to terms with the loss, taking consolation in thinking that they are in a better place now. It is harder to see them suffer some more.

    Thanks for sharing with us this compelling and moving pieces. They are page-worthy for the Chicken Soup book series.

    Thanks for the link to the article, “Three Boys and A Funeral,” it touched a part in me, the child in me.

    I hope you get the chance to read my piece about the death of a pet, and my first pet. Please check out link below:

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  • Oh, you are welcome. I know how hard it is to lose loved ones. If you ever need to talk– because sometimes it is nice just to talk without the worry of advice or judgement or whatever– don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I am always more than happy to listen. Keep well and know you are in many people’s thoughts!

  • * Hugs, hugs, hugs*

  • damyantig says:



    I guess I don’t know what else to say at the moment, other than: thankyou!

  • Ovidia says:

    Glad you are nourishing yourself–both with the act of preparing soup & (I hope!) with the soup. All the best to you.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    I’m so sorry. You’ve had a horrible time lately. I’ll remember you in my prayers.

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