My wife and I have learned quite a bit from the stack of parenting books piled high next to our bed. However, for the all the useful information we've found crammed into each page, one thing they fail to cover is how to handle the personal agony that comes with caring for a sick child that can't communicate what's wrong.
See, our one-year old daughter is in daycare, which is essentially 21st century American slang for "festering petri dish of infant maladies." Maybe it's all in my head, but it sure seems like she's had a runny nose for the last nine months. It can get a little gross, but with strategically placed Boogie Wipes throughout our home keeping her steady stream of goobers under control has become a manageable task.
Since she started daycare, the worst days are the ones when she comes home coughing. She's a pretty resilient lass, so the coughing doesn't seem to faze her all that much, but it turns my wife and I into neurotic goons. A mild cough doesn't warrant a trip to the doctor, but we drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out how to alleviate her cough and make her as comfortable as possible while we wait for the metaphorical storm to pass. It makes us so crazy, in fact, that we've found ourselves willing to take an old wives' tale like the healing powers of chicken soup over the common cold for a test drive.
Fortunately for us, Mike had just whipped up a fresh batch of his chicken soup that we could heat up for our daughter at home, so naturally we picked up a quart. Once we heated up the soup and cut up the noodles, chicken and veggies into manageable bites and paced them in front of her, she dove in like a total savage. (Side: Meal time at our home is a combination of eating and Modern Art 101.) As she jammed carrots into her mouth and delivered devastating stiff arms that sent noodles flying to the floor, it sure seemed like our little Jackson Pollock was doing better. And as I've recently learned, her recovery may not have been entirely in our heads.
A 2000 study at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup aided in the reduction of upper-respiratory inflammation. (You can learn more about the findings of the study here.) Stephen Rennard, M.D, observed that patients who ate chicken soup (prepared according to his grandmother's recipe) displayed "very modest but clearly measurable" ability to reduce inflammation. The study failed to pinpoint the active ingredient responsible for the affects, but Rennard observed, "If you're feeling ill, it's good to have somebody take care of you. That's actually not a placebo. The fact that someone's making a fuss over you when you are feeling badly is real support. There's biological proof in that." It's certainly not the most scientific argument I've ever come across, but it's difficult to argue with Rennard's logic. Turns out there may be something to this ancient old wives tale after all.
Shortly after an artistic and satisfying dinner we gave our daughter a bath, read her some Dr. Seuss, and laid her down in her crib. With in minutes she let out a few coughs, much to our chagrin. They weren't horrible, but it was definitely enough to make us wince as we listened to intermittent coughs and watched her snuggle with her stuffed puppy dog on the baby monitor. But for at least a few minutes, while she feasted on bits of chicken soup, she sure seemed like she was on the path to recovery. It definitely made my wife and I feel better about our daughter's health, and on another level, our usefulness as parents. So until modern medicine gets its crap together and finds a legitimate cure for the common cold, Perrotti's Chicken Noodle Soup will have to be good enough.
Grab a mop, because I'm about to spill some knowledge…
You're probably familiar with Wedding Soup, the distinctly Italian amalgamation of tiny meatballs, escarole, and tiny pasta simmered in chicken broth. This modern staple finds its roots in an ancient Neopolitan soup called minestra maritata, which literally translates to "married soup." It drew its name from the marriage of its primary ingredients, leafy vegetables and meats.
The story behind the dish is actually quite charming, and if you'd like to check out a more in-depth history of minestrata maritata, I highly recommend checking out this blog and this article. We won't be covering that here, because 2016 saw the team at Perrotti's create some great marriages of our own.
Pat and Lorie (1.17.2016)
A couple of babes.
Justin and Susan (8.13.2016)
On any other day the preacher is telling these two loverbirds to take their PDA and scram.
Mike and Gabriella (9.4.2016)
Hold on to my handelbar mustache, babe, it's gonna be a hell of a ride.
Reflecting on all the marriages we've seen on staff at Perrotti's this year, Michael found himself inspired to create his take on Marriage Soup. It's a synergy of meats and veggies that will take you on a flavor odyssey, and we'll only have it on the shelves for a limited time.
The unspoken tragedy of Thanksgiving is that it comes just once a year. A holiday dedicated to expressing gratitude and watching football should be a bi-weekly occurrence at minimum. Thanksgiving is also the only time that many of us try our hand at cooking a whole turkey, which is a shame because there are so many awesome ways to prepare a turkey. It wasn't easy, but we narrowed our favorite turkey recipes down to our top-3, ranked from simple to complex, with a couple of bonus recipes thrown in for Central Jersey's outdoorsmen.
- Simple -- World's Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey -- All you need is salt, pepper, and butter to execute this extremely basic turkey recipe.
- Moderate -- How to Brine a Turkey -- If you've ever found yourself wishing that your turkey was a bit juicier, this recipe is for you. A brine is a great way to get moist and tender meat from a lean bird that spends hours in the oven.
- Involved -- Super Juicy Turkey Baked in Cheesecloth and White Wine -- I realize a recipe that calls for a cheesecloth and white wine sounds bougie, but I promise your family's taste buds will forgive you.
- Fried -- Deep-Fried Turkey -- Be sure to have a camera ready. Both for the reactions of your guests as they take their first bite and for the fryer if you even think of attempting this recipe with a frozen turkey.
- Smoked -- Aaron Franklin's Smoked Turkey -- If you have the patience to become proficient on a smoker, I can safely assume you also have the patience to watch all three parts of barbecue legend Aaron Franklin's how-to video on smoking a turkey.
As always, if you need a turkey or anything else to serve this Thanksgiving, we've got you covered: http://perrottis.com/images/files/2016-Turkey-Day-Menu.pdf.
That's my mother-in-law, Barb Hagan, carefully tending to one of the three turkeys she cooks each year for Thanksgiving. She's what you might refer to as a Thanksgiving Host: Level - Ninja. For decades now she's hosted 40+ family members from across the country each November with a deftly weaved tapestry of folding chairs, card tables, good food, exceptional patience, and lots of love. If you think she pays the sort of laser-focused attention you see in the photo above to budget poultry, you'd be mistaken. When the hungry masses arrive at her doorstep each Thanksgiving, Barb only serves fresh, never-frozen 20-pound birds from Jaindl farms that she picked up from Perrotti's. Because that much tryptophan is the only way she can keep all 40+ of us in place long enough to pose for the annual family photo.
If you're looking to bring Barb-level heat this Thanksgiving, give us a call to place your turkey order today. While you're at it, load up on trays of sides from our holidy menu to make hosting and cooking a breeze.
As a former race official once keenly observed of the crowds that pour into Far Hills each October for The Hunt, "Fifty percent of the people come to see; fifty percent come to be seen." Whatever your motivation for heading to Mooreland Farm on October 21st, you'll need something to eat and fortunately for you, Perrotti's is right across the street. We've got all you racegoers out there covered with a variety of party platters to compliment whatever your beverage of choice may be. Whether you plan on sipping Bordeaux or pounding Busch Light, we've got what you need keep your tailgate going all day long.
Our Basking Ridge shop will be open regular hours, but the Far Hills shop will be closing early on race day (Saturday, 10/21). We'll be there in the morning for those of you picking up catering orders for The Hunt. Give us a call (908-306-8806) and put your order in today!