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updated: 2/27/2013 10:26 AM

Chicken soup might be just what the doctor ordered

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  • Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup is the most highly rated chicken soup on AllRecipes.com.

      Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup is the most highly rated chicken soup on AllRecipes.com.
    Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

  • The Daily Herald's 2013 Cook of the Year Michael Pennisi will cook for a community fundraiser April 19 at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

       The Daily Herald's 2013 Cook of the Year Michael Pennisi will cook for a community fundraiser April 19 at the Kane County Fairgrounds.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Has flu hit your household yet?

If it hasn't, consider yourself lucky.

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If it has, did a steaming bowl of chicken soup help make you and yours feel better?

Chicken soup -- no matter what ethnic lines it descended -- has curative properties. And this past flu season has been a boon for chicken soup.

According to the folks at AllRecipes.com, the number of people searching for chicken soup recipes increases almost proportionally to the number of reported flu cases.

When the flu season began in October, there were 356,000 page views for chicken soup; by the end of January, when the flu season peaked, this number increased 20 percent to 446,262 page views.

While flu season may have peaked, it certainly is not over. This weekend I simmered a pot of Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup so I'll be ready should my family or friends fall victim to the virus. It's the highest rated and reviewed chicken soup recipe on AllRecipes.com and has clocked 2 million Pinterest pins, and 1.1 million Facebook "likes," says Judith Dern, spokeswoman for the recipe website.

I'm not the only one who likes this recipe; try it for yourself, whether you have the flu or not.

Up for another challenge: Cook of the Year Michael Pennisi is putting his culinary skills to the test again, this time competing against 59 other cooks in a fundraiser for the Geneva History Center, the Lions Club of Geneva, Geneva Rotary Club and Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

Pennisi, the high school physics teacher who won the 2012 Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge, will be one of the cooks taking part in 30 Men and 30 Women Who Can Cook (formerly 60 Men Who Can Cook) from 5:30 to 9 p.m. April 19 at the Kane County Fairgrounds.

The event asks cooks to prepare a signature recipe in either the appetizer, side dish, main dish or dessert category. The cooks will serve the dish that evening and encourage attendees to vote for them. The community can vote for their favorite cook with their dollars online before the event and in donation buckets that evening. The cook who receives the most votes in each category will be announced the winner at the end of the evening.

Tickets cost $28 and are available through any of the organizations, or call the Geneva History Center at (630) 232-4951. Tickets at the door cost $30. Last year's event attracted about 1,000 people and raised $28,000 for the community groups.

If you'd rather be behind the stove than doing the sampling, there are still openings for cooks (at press time the men's side was nearly full while plenty of slots were open for women). Watch the YouTube clip from last year's event, then register up at signupgenius.com/go/5080849ACAD23A02-chef.

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald.com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend on Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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