Sophie has two grandmothers. Her bubbe makes her
chicken soup with kreplach, carrots and parsley. Her nai nai makes her
chicken soup with wontons, bamboo shoots and green onions. They both make it
just like their own grandmothers did for them a long time ago.
The soups are, as Sophie says, “a little different, a lot
the same,” —and she has a plan to prove it. Sophie invites both grandmas over
and serves them bowls of their soups mixed together. And guess what? It tastes
Jewish grandmas have long claimed chicken soup to be a
cure-all, the “Jewish penicillin.” Science has since proven what grandmas knew
by intuition all along; chicken broth has anti-inflammatory properties that
help cure the common cold.
Today, more than half of Jewish children born in the United
States have only one Jewish parent, just like Sophie perhaps does in this story.
They may have a bubbe as well as a halmoni (Korean), abuela
(Spanish), or yiayia (Greek) who makes them samgye-tang, sopa de
pollo, or avgolemono.
The humble yet oh-so-comforting chicken soup makes an appearance
in cuisines around the world, and nothing tastes quite as good as food made in
grandma’s kitchen. The secret ingredient is the same, after all, no matter
where you are. That ingredient is love.
There is perhaps no better way to start the conversation with
children about navigating multiple identities than over a steamy bowl of