Tortellini in Brodo, Stat!

December 4, 2007

Yesterday I was talking to a couple of American friends married to Kuwaitis about cultural differences during winter. My husband, with his Kuwaiti upbringing, runs around the house closing all the windows, while I, the American, run around opening them up. While I run around the house barefoot, he runs after me telling me that I’m going to get sick from the cold tiles. I’m outside in capris and sandals while he’s wearing a turtleneck, long pants, socks and shoes. I tell him, “I’m from Massachusetts, I’m USED to this weather. It’s not even cold for me!” He replies that the cold in Kuwait is different. It’s a “dry cold”, one which gets into your bones and makes you sick. I look at him and say that only viruses and bacteria make one sick, and he’s talking a lot of hogwash. Kuwaitis aren’t the only ones to be cautious of cold weather. Many Europeans are the same way – specifically Italians. Same logic goes for cold tiles, breezes through windows, they’re all something to avoid at all costs. In Italy, just like in Kuwait, if you don’t hop from the shower to your blow dryer within a nano-second, you’ll be on your deathbed by the next day. Older Italian women take a step further and have the belief that during a woman’s menstruation, water is something to avoid all together. Something about the water making you sick or infertile or both.

Moving right along… So yesterday, after our discussion and after hearing both of my friends agreeing with me that it’s all very silly, this almost superstitious phobia-like avoidance of cold breezes and tiles, I did my usual barefoot walking around the house, the outside in the yard with capri sweatpants thing, and slept with our bedroom window open.

Well, reality woke me up and slapped me in the face this morning. I woke up with terrible sinus pain and spent most of the morning blowing out lots of sinus gunk. I’m tired and achy. I’m also thinking there might be something to this whole avoidance-of-cold thing after-all. As my husband says, “We know these things because this is our country and we know it better than anyone else, so listen to me when I tell you that Kuwait’s winter is no joke.”

So for dinner tonight, I had very little energy, very little inspiration and I craved something hot. I had a bag of tortellini in the fridge so…

Tortellini in Brodo (Quick Version)

A bag of Carrefour fresh tortellini, filled with ricotta and spinach

Beef or Chicken broth

Parmesan cheese, grated

Remember, this is a quick version. I only had some Maggi broth cubes so I used 5 cubes for 3 liters of water. It may seem excessive to some, but you need a really rich broth for this soup. I was in the mood for beef, but you can certainly use chicken. Once boiling, add the tortellini. They will automatically rise to the top but don’t be fooled, they’re not done. Boil until they seem to plump up a bit. You may have to taste one to make sure they’re ready.

Pour into bowls, and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. While your eating your soup, remember to drag the spoon around the bottom of the bowl. Some of the Parmesan settles there and gets all gooey and nice.

That’s it. Easy, no?



  1. Tell him the windows should be “OPEN”, you know…how he likes to say that word “OPEN”


  2. Clear ya head. 🙂

  3. after birth my massuse which is chinese filpino forbidden me from getting a bath for 10 days as any cold could get into the bones directly since i was weak after birth..and i believe its true..comparing after birth with and without doing that advice.big diffrence in my health..some of the old wives tales and myths r based on truthful experiences i guess.

  4. ahh well salamat, but u should listen to him cuz our cold does get into the bones!

    I lived briefly in massachusetts, so I can tell you that from experience 🙂 But keep keep the windows open anyway!

  5. theroyalwoman – I’m sure there are a lot of scientific explanations behind old wives’ tales. For example, it was suggested to me to rub olive oil onto my son’s stomach to relieve constipation when he was an infant. I never paid much attention to the advice but then read about some study on olive oil and its many benefits, one of which included the advice I was given many years ago.

    Enigma – I hope your stay in Mass was a good one. We tend to be friendly people once our “walls” are torn down. I will definitely sleep with the windows open. I believe in fresh air and like to keep indoor air circulated. I might not be walking on cold tiles again though… 🙂

  6. I think this is less about the “cold” and more about allergens. The allergens get in through your nose and does all kinds of nasty stuff to your immune system, especially if you’re tired and run down. We’re having a late fall here in New England. The leaves were about 3 or 4 weeks late in falling off the trees. I was fine until the leaves fell (I’m allergic to the wood, the leaves, the mold, etc., etc…..). Then I had to shut the windows at night because all that allergy stuff was causing me to wake up with massive headaches, itchy watery eyes and ears, and post nasal drip. I suggest some allergy medicine for a week or so. Works for me.

  7. nice blog stinni…I guess if I visit here regularly I will learn how to cook 🙂

  8. Stinni, I felt healthier just reading the recipe! It sound OMG awesome. I will have to try it.

    I loved your article about Carrefour, too. When they opened in Qatar, they were well stocked, but, like here, some of the more desirable products then disappeared, never to be seen again. It is pretty cool to have access to some goods the other stores don’t carry.

    Miso soup is another good one for these sudden colds. I love having the windows open! It’s worth the risk!

  9. Mom – Sinus medicine, yes! (But you knew that from our weekly phone call…) 🙂

    Fast Lane – Welcome, and thank you.

    intlxpatr – It’s awesome yes. I’ve never tried miso soup so maybe I should check it out some time. As I mentioned, I’m a one-woman campaign to get them to bring back the Carrefour brand flour. I can’t live without it!

    And yes, still sleeping with the windows open. But, I come from a family who has the windows cracked open even when it’s literally freezing outside.

  10. The tortellini are light and help digestion

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