Chicken and Rice Soup with Egg and Lemon. If not really a form of Greek penicillin, it is commonly said (especially by mothers and yia yia's) that chicken soup will cure the common cold and flu. After returning from London, Mr K and I had been struck by the dreaded norovirus (of which there is an outbreak in the UK) and the 29 hour flight home had left us with head colds - we were in dire need of some comfort food.
There was nothing better that a steaming bowl of what we call Greek penicillin, which is basically a bowl of light homemade chicken and vegetable stock, with an added protein boost of egg yolks and some antibacterial lemon and garlic! Rice and shredded chicken are also added for that extra comfort feeling.
While folklore has always dictated that chicken soup is good for the common cold, some researches do suggest that chicken soup actually has a mild therapeutic effect, (beyond the feeling of comfort!) inhibiting inflammation of the cells in the nasal passage, reducing the symptoms of a cold. I think the Greek additions of lemon and garlic, would also have to go some way to having some sort of antibacterial effect. Indeed, in France, Provence, in particular the brothy garlic and saffron soup (Aigo Boulido or traditional “Boiled Water” Soup) is said to cure all and will nip in the bud anything that ails you - even a dreaded hangover!
If your appetite is up to it, this kotosoupa avgolemono is best accompanied with some Greek olives and perhaps a tiny little bit of feta cheese, and of course some bread - the classic trio that accompanies most Greek meals.