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Angela Marquardt of Glenville, Minnesota, offers an even more delicate version: a frothy egg beaten drop by drop off the fire into a boiling broth of chicken stock, seasoned with a smidge of salt and sugar and thickened with a bit of cornstarch. Minced scallion garnish. Very tasty and restorative.

Kleenex Soup

(For when you need sustaining)

I can do no better than let contributor Maggie Fex describe this delicate but attention-getting soup herself. "This is a childhood soup that our mom made when we were sick - usually with a bad cold or something like that. Because of the way it looked, we called it Kleenex Soup - because the beaten egg looked just like a shredded Kleenex tissue. It's a modification of egg-drop soup that I have further modified over the years into a form of Sicilian Penicillin. Medical research has proven that chicken soup is the ideal fluid replacement, and 9 million mothers, Jewish or otherwise, can't be wrong! The egg adds some easily-digested protein, and the garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune-system booster. Over a steaming bowl of soup, a stuffed head clears, and the soup is flavorful enough to get through to even the most cold-deadened taste buds. You can add pastina for a more filling soup if you like. Nothing says "I love you and I hope you feel better soon" better than this light and comforting chicken soup. This recipe serves 2 people who aren't very hungry.

Garnish: Chopped fresh parsley

Heat the chicken broth to a boil, add the seasonings and vegetables, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender, then strain the soup. Season to taste with salt. Turn heat to medium and slowly pour the beaten egg into the strained broth, stirring lightly as it goes in, so it looks like shreds of Kleenex tissue as it cooks. Remove from heat immediately after the egg cooks.

Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Maggie adds, "A nice meal for someone who is off their feed, has a cold, or just needs something easy on the tummy. Leave the vegetables in the soup for those who love vegetables or who can tolerate a more "solid" meal. Otherwise, this is a good soup for someone who has been vomiting and is dehydrated, and has been only able to keep down clear liquids--it's the next step up from plain broth. Good for invalids, folks going through chemotherapy or anyone who is suffering--from dehydration to bruised spirits. Very easy to do, cheap and fast--and it tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen instead of minutes. A good "sick" meal is a bowl of this soup, with a slice of hot, crispy rye toast and a cup of applesauce. Just the thing for the person who says, 'Ugh, I can't eat" or "I'm not really hungry, but I need SOMETHING in my stomach.'"