So how are you all doing? Last week was incredibly rough (if you follow me on Instagram you know who I voted for), and it’s taken me some days to process it all. I’ve been writing every day, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about food until the weekend. Instead, I’ve been writing to my congresspeople begging them to publicly and loudly denounce all of the hate speech and hate crimes that have been unleashed in the last few days (and blaming a certain person for it) as well as to continue to fight for the causes I voted for, and writing a thank-you note to my preferred candidate for taking on this shit-storm of a campaign cycle.
One thing I will say that’s been a positive development: thanks to social media, I’ve been able to connect with so many friends who have been feeling the same way, so I definitely don’t feel alone in my grief. I hope you’ve been able to do the same if you’re feeling anything like I am.
I made this pho last weekend in advance of having to cook for Michael’s weekday gym session, and that day happened to be Tuesday. I worked from home that day to make sure I could get my voting in (the ballot in Baltimore City was long due to all of the down-ballot questions) so I could have theoretically made it the same day, but I’m so glad that I ended up making the soup ahead of time. The recipe I used from Serious Eats promises that this only takes 30 minutes, but that’s only true if you account for the time the pressure cooker is actually going–with our model at least, it takes a good ten minutes for it to come up to the proper pressure and heat before the countdown clock starts going. Regardless of that technicality, the soup itself is pretty divine: that twenty minutes under high pressure really does yield a flavorful, gelatinous broth with a heavenly scent thanks to all of the spices that go into it. While it heated up on the stove on Tuesday evening I started watching some of the election coverage and prepping all of the different fixings for the soup, and it was a decent activity to keep myself busy as I (apparently rightly) spent the night in a state of near constant anxiety. A few days later the leftovers served to be just what I needed after an emotionally exhausting week, and you better believe that I’m going to be making this for the rest of fall and winter because damn it, I am definitely in need of comfort food. This is chicken soup turned up to eleven, and while it may not have the complexities and layers of a ramen broth, it’s seriously some of the best damn chicken broth I’ve personally ever made.
As we enter this age of great uncertainty, I’d like to take a moment and reflect that the America today, under our current president, is pretty fucking great. It’s definitely not perfect, but it doesn’t need to be made great again. While I accept the results of what happened on Tuesday, I reject the notion that we need to be isolationist and that we need to build walls and make people pass a religion test to enter this country, and I reject the racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitisim, misogyny, Islamophobia, and homophobia that was so part and parcel with the winning candidate. I look at my cookbook bookcase and with the exception of Antarctica, every continent on Earth is represented. Some are better-represented than others, admittedly, and plan to remedy that. We’re better for all of the amazing cultures that have made their imprint on how we eat here, and I’m determined more now than ever to celebrate that. (And, you know, shout down all of that hateful speech that has already intensified over the last few days. Because fuck that.)
I didn’t really make any adaptations to this recipe, so I don’t feel right in reproducing it here. Instead, you can find it on Serious Eats and I urge you to make it immediately if you’re in the need for some comforting chicken soup today.