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Serious Entertaining: For a Sick Friend

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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

We're getting into flu season, the time when friends, family, roommates and coworkers start dropping like sniffling, sneezing flies. When I see someone in distress, my instinct is to cook. I can't help it: it's a double whammy of Italian and Greek grandmother genes, which can get seriously out of control.

It took me a while to realize that when someone is sick, a roast rack of lamb won't necessarily make them feel better. They could probably use patience and comfort and soup more. Lots of soup. Gallons of soup with a side of bread sticks, and maybe a chocolate chip cookie pie in case they're feeling well enough to have sweets by dessert.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Even when I'm "can't move from my bed, someone look after my dog because I think I might die" sick, I always manage to slurp down chicken noodle soup. I read somewhere (it may have been a headliner from Bubbie's News Daily) that chicken broth is good for the immune system. I've decided to believe it. My mother's chicken soup calls for boiling the chicken in stock and it's saved my life on numerous occasions, so I'll assume it will save everyone else's, too.

However in this version, you roast the chicken before adding it to the soup, and it's possibly even more flavorful. The chicken is rubbed with thyme, adding a nice earthiness to the soup. Carrots, celery, and leeks round out the flavors and, let's just say add some healing vitamin C.

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Easy Bread Sticks

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In my normal life I'm a big fan of whole grains. But when I'm sick, plain white bread is the only option. I assume that others feel this way, which is why I make some easy, plain bread sticks to accompany the chicken noodle soup. They're airy inside and slightly crusty on the edges. In other words: just right for dunking.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

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It's hard not to make someone feel better when you show up at their bedside with a chocolate chip cookie pie. Because even if they're not up to eating it now, there's nothing that spurs health like wanting to dig into a giant chocolate chip cookie. Each slice is full of brown sugar, buttery goodness and lots of chocolate chips.

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About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.

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