feed a fever

Dinner: January 6, 2013

I’ve always been pretty proud of my ability to think on my feet. It’s a skill that has served me well at my day job, but it has proven to be invaluable since I became a mom. You just never know what the day will bring.

We’ve been lucky – Julian has been extremely healthy and robust, but yesterday he just wasn’t feeling like himself. He had had some immunizations at his 15-month checkup late last month, and his doctor warned us he might show some delayed symptoms about a week after; right on schedule, he was cranky and fussy and spiked his very first fever Sunday morning. We tried time and again to put him down for a nap in his crib, but he wasn’t having it, so I nestled him close to me in the big bed, and read while he drifted off, staying with him for nearly three hours.


He slept deeply and well, his fever broke, and he woke with a smile on his face, but I had to shelve my original plan for dinner. Something brothy and comforting seemed like just what we all needed, so I put a small pot of beans on the stove and got to chopping while Mike took over tending to our boy.


I was inspired by a beautiful pot of minestrone I saw on Pinterest, so I cobbled together my own version, rich with alliums and fennel, carrots and parsnips, cabbage and kale, good canned tomatoes, fresh rosemary, thyme, and bay. I added a dash of Worcestershire for savoriness and a splash of Sherry vinegar for brightness, the cooked beans and their broth for heft, and a parmesan rind for the wonderful richness it imparts. I didn’t have any soup pasta around, but I did have a bag of par-cooked whole wheat spirals in the freezer left over from a previous meal, so I thawed them and stirred them gently into the soup until they were just warmed through.

celery leaves and garlic

I also had a bunch of leafy celery in the crisper, so I pulled off a big handful of the leaves to make a quick gremolata of sorts, chopping them fine and combining them with garlic and lemon zest and coarse pink salt, plus a little bit of olive oil to make a chunky paste, which I swirled on top of our soup bowls.

last-minute minestrone

We settled in at the table, passing a tray of cheese-dusted, garlicky toasts for dunking, and even Julian ate with gusto. I guess a good pot of soup really is the cure for what’s ailing you.

10 thoughts on “feed a fever

  1. Margie says:

    My son gets a fever after every round of immunizations. It’s sucks because that look he gives me when he’s feeling miserable breaks my heart though I try not to let him see the pain in my eyes. It’s tough being a mom but I think I’m doing pretty well as are you, Jen. The soup looks yummy.

    • Margie, it totally sucks! We’ve been incredibly fortunate that he’s had no problems after shots until now. Hard to see them hurting, especially when you’re the mommy! I’m grateful kids are so resilient 🙂

      • Margie says:

        Sucks is the perfect way to describe it. Thank goodness our 5-month old son, Noah, has yet to get sick. I know he will and I’ll try to be as ready as I can be. I’ve been meaning to tell you that Julian is absolutely a beautiful baby.

  2. what kind of canned tomatoes do you prefer ? And the soup looks fantastic. We had a similar weekend last, and i made a simple escarole and meatball soup – ditallini added for good measure. Just like my Grandmother used to make. The kids loved it !

    • Thanks! I try to stay away from cans whenever possible since we have a little guy (to avoid any issues with BPA in the linings), so I usually get POMI tomatoes, or glass jars of whole peeled tomatoes from the Italian grocer at Chelsea Market.

  3. Sara says:

    Lovely soup…. so glad your blog is back! Love the picture of your little guy by the holiday tree. Too fun.

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