Miso soup v COVID-19.

Miso soup. One of my late nite superpowers.

Here’s a Sunday post: Musing about miso soup and it’s role in my battle with the pandemic. If you’re here for data, clinical informatics, and health system thinking, you can leave now.

FLASHBACK, mid-1970’s.

When I was the age of my youngest niece (okay, my only niece), I remember telling my mother who had just served me a bowl of home-made soup, with a sprinkling of goldfish crackers:

THIS SOUP IS SO YUMMY. I think it must be the goldfish I put in there. Goldfish are the perfect food, and I think I’m going to make a soup just from goldfish crackers and hot water. Mom, can I have some hot water?

Of course I wasn’t watching my mother’s face at the time, I was so sure of my world-shattering upcoming invention: Delicious hot water-and-goldfish soup.

I stood by, as she boiled some hot water for me on the stove. I had carefully selected a big handful of goldfish, and was cautiously resisting eating them, KNOWING that the soup was going to be TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT. I was bouncing with excitement.

At last, hot water, in a cup on the kitchen table. =Plt-phtl-tlthtpl-plthth-ppth!= I slid all my goldfish from my sweaty palm into the cup, gave it a big stir,

…paused for a drawn-out moment to let the flavors swirl…

And took a big sip.

What did I think? It gradually dawned on me, as my face twisted into a surprised grimace, that the soup was not good … AT ALL. Just a bunch of semi-soggy flavor-less crackers and hot water.

I tried to fix it: added salt and pepper. Even some “Accent” (packaged MSG salt; hey it was the 1970’s! anything goes). Nope. Nope. And Nope.

I finally looked at my mom, who was silently watching, smiling and shaking her head at me. It was a lesson, I suppose, that her son had to learn for himself. Good soup was just not going to be that easy.

FLASH-FORWARD, present day.

I have always been obsessed with soup. Almost every restaurant we go to (or, used to go to), I would scour the soup offerings for candidates. I did let go of my soup-inventing dreams, but have lately been punching out Instant Pot – powered soups like Rosemary Cauliflower and Ginger Carrot, to some pretty good family reviews. But of course, they realize it’s Dad cooking, so the critic-grading-scale is set pretty low and forgiving to start.

Night-times are for miso soup, though. I’m a night owl and do some of my best thinking and working at night, and give me 1 teaspoon of Marukame Boy brand Miso paste, a cup from the hot-water pot, a sprinkling of scallions (pre-sliced and saved in a container in the fridge), and maybe some … GOLDFISH CRACKERS from a huge Costco bag. Heaven.

And, what do you know? Miso soup, consumed daily is supposed to have ability to FIGHT INFECTIONS! Hey! Who needs vaccines or treatments? Daily miso soup for EVERYONE, that’s the ticket. Okay, whatever, no.

Turns out, if my pre-teen self had just known SOMETHING about miso paste, I might have been a chef instead. Happy Sunday, everyone. Hi, Natalie!

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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