With Sukkot over and as we move mealtime back indoors, it’s certainly the season for hearty and warming dishes. Soul-warming dishes. Enter soup: Grandma’s go-to for healing body and spirit, a classic shared by everyone on tables around the world—and even a 2016 food trend.
Certainly for us Jews, chicken soup with matzah balls (dense-versus-fluffy is a discussion for another time) is the quintessential selection, but there really is infinite soup-tential. Here in DC, two purveyors are ladling out hearty, homey and healthy soups.
Admission: We haven’t polled nine out of ten doctors, but at least nine out of ten Jewish mothers would agree that if you’re not feeling well, go have some soup.
That’s what Valerie Zweig did, when she got laryngitis twice in two months. A smidge too sick to shop, however, she sought to order chicken soup—but couldn’t find a spot to get a single serving to meet a delivery minimum. Thus was born Prescription Chicken (no actual Rx required), dedicated to bringing the healing properties of chicken soup to people in the DC area.
Established just a few months ago, Prescription Chicken is run by Zweig and her cousin Taryn Pellicone, dedicated soup specialists who make soup to “cure whatever ails you,” Zweig says. “Chicken soup with matzah balls is the iconic Jewish food. We put a lot of love into the soup (it’s even on our labels—zero added calories!) and that we are able to provide and deliver delicious comfort to those in need makes us truly happy every time we hear an order ring in.”
Sara Polon of Soupergirl agrees. For her, “a good bowl of soup is like a hug from your mom.” Soup will never go out of style, she tells us. “A well-made bowl of soup can have everything you need, and it provides basic comfort. Is there anything better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold night? Especially when you’re sick. Your body is craving nutrition and comfort. Soup to the rescue!”
Prescription Chicken focuses on fundamental soup styles, both good for the soul and healthful. At the top of its website, a maternal (or paternal) statement, “How do you feel today?” is met with answers like “Stressed,” “Hangry” (hungry plus angry) and “Hungover” (something we might not share with our mothers). The answers then lead to thoughtful soup options. The “Grandma Style,” for instance, is comforting and flavorful, with fresh veggies, broth suffused with dill and ginger, pulled chicken and egg noodles or matzah balls. Vegetarians, fear not: The “Chickenless” option is completely meat free.
Polon also ensures that her wide variety of soups and salads are of the highest quality. “Customers want short, understandable ingredients. If they can’t pronounce it, they don’t want to eat it. Michael Pollan started talking about this concept over ten years ago.” All of Polon’s stuff is free of preservatives and additives, full of seasonal and local ingredients and completely, 100-percent plant based. And it’s kosher, too.
So you’re tired, or sick, or feeling like getting off the couch isn’t happening, there’s a remedy: ordering yourself some soup. Prescription Chicken allows you to purchase just one splendid serving, using one of the ever-increasing food-delivery services available (it’s also carried by one of our favorite local shops, Glen’s Garden Market). Soupergirl is available for delivery and at several area markets, including Whole Foods Markets.
“Borscht! Matzah ball soup! Cholent! Did the Jews invent soup? Probably not, but boy do we love it,” Polon says with a smile. Grab a bowl, get yourself a big spoon and sit down with family and friends to share the hottest dish in town.
Prescription Chicken is available via UberEats, Postmates, Seamless, GrubHub, DoorDash, From the Farmer, special delivery and at Glen’s Garden Market locations.
Soupergirl Takoma Park, 202-609-7177, 314 Carroll Street, NW, Washington, DC; Monday-Thursday, 8:15 am-8 pm; Friday, 8:15 am-3 pm; Sunday, 11 am-5 pm; Closed Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Soupergirl M Street, 202-733-4401, 1829 M Street NW, Washington, DC; Monday-Thursday, 10 am-8 pm; Friday 10 am-5 pm; Closed Saturdays, Sundays and Jewish holidays.
Top photo courtesy of Prescription Chicken (credit: Susie Condon)