Ultimate comfort food

Photo by BoringPostcards/Flickr

My dad used to work the night shift.

As young parents, Mom and Dad, didn’t care about the standards of childrearing back in the 90s. For example, bedtimes were irrelevant to them.

How does this play into my favorite soup? Well, let me tell you.

Picture this. It’s 1998 and my dad is working graveyard shift as a patrol office for the Fresno Police Department. He works an hourly job during the mornings and sleeps all afternoon. My mom has three kids to entertain all day but as a stay-at-home mom she sets the schedule. My mom always used to say “I wanted you to see your dad. That’s what was the most important.”

Three kiddos, myself included, load into my mom’s minivan in our footie pajamas at 2 a.m. We’re going to Denny’s. This trip, as we had made many times before, was a signal to us that we were going to see our dad. My dad would take his “lunch break” in the middle of the night and meet us at Denny’s for a late night meal. So we’d walk in as a squad, my dad leading in his patrol uniform, my mom in sweats and three kids under 5 years old in footie pajamas.

We did this so often that as the angsty middle child I got tired of breakfast foods. So I ordered soup.

So this soup, chicken noodle, to be exact, cooks alllllll dayyyyy long and becomes incredibly thick, incredibly warm and incredibly memorable. It may not be the best soup to ever be cooked in the history of the world, but this soup means more to my family than possibly any other food.

Fun fact: Denny’s stops serving soup at 10 p.m. BUT if you are part of the cook’s favorite customer club and tell them you’re going in that night, they will leave the crock pot on for you.

Photo by Tynin Fries

It’s a staple in my family now. We get Denny’s soup every single time we go. And this soup has been with me in times of grief, happiness, anxiousness. Denny’s chicken noodle soup is my comfort meal. Denny’s chicken noodle soup is home.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup the night I went to prom.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup when I found out Cory Monteith died.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup the night before I moved into my dorm room.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup when my grandma died.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup when I arrived back in America after studying abroad.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup after being dumped.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup before pulling a turn-around Disney trip.

I ate Denny’s chicken noodle soup while procrastinating homework.

This soup, as silly as it sounds, was really a symbol for how my parents raised us. We weren’t on the normal schedule other kids were, we didn’t have bed times. We didn’t follow the rules of society. We’ve never celebrated Christmas on December 25th because my dad always worked and my parents knew that children couldn’t tell what day it was. Traditions like Christmas on December 20th and eating Denny’s soup late at night are part of the reason I have such a great relationship with my parents. Who cares if you go to bed on time if you don’t ever get to see your dad. Personally I enjoyed eating soup with my dad in the middle of his shift a lot more than sleeping.

Photo by Swong95765/Flickr