Being sick sucks! I know this is not the most cheery way to start a blog entry, but I just had to vent it out somehow. Right now I feel like there’s a giant tennis ball stuck in my throat which makes swallowing painful. And since I live to eat, not being able to swallow really really kills me. I don’t know what I have – God forbid it’s not H1N1. In Thailand we call H1N1 the 2009 influenza; don’t you think it would be so outdated and inappropriate to have it in 2010? It’s so….last year! Maybe they should rename it to make it a little more current, and it must be pretty current if it’s still affecting people now, don’t you agree? OK, I admit that it’s a little (very) childish of me to be thinking this way, but hey, I can’t enjoy my food so I have a slight right to be whiny.
Anyways, being sick got me to think about home remedies to cure sickness. Every culture/ nation seems to have their own recipes to soothe a sore throat or to ease an upset stomach. Most of these remedies usually involve something hot and soupy. Here are some famous home remedies:
- Chicken soup – Since the olden days, chicken soup is believed to be the best home remedy to cure a cold. I also read somewhere that they have been scientific researches that proven this soup to have anti-inflammatory properties too, so it’s not just all folklore!
Here’s a recipe from CARRIEK from Allrecipes.com
* 1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken
* 3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
* 1 pound baby carrots
* 2 onions, chopped
* 2 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
* 1 packet chicken noodle soup mix
* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 pinch dried thyme
* 1 pinch poultry seasoning
* 1 pinch dried basil
* 5 black peppercorns
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 pinch dried parsley
* 1 (8 ounce) package farfalle (bow tie) pasta
- Place chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Place celery leaves in pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and place in a bowl until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, strain the cooking liquid, discard the celery tops and place the cooking liquid in a large pot. Place celery, carrots, onion, bouillon, soup mix and chicken broth in the pot and let simmer. Season with thyme, poultry seasoning, basil, peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley.
- Bone chicken and cut up meat into bite-size pieces. Return meat to pot. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended, up to 90 minutes.
- Stir pasta into pot and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, until noodles are al dente. Serve hot.
- Lemon and honey tea – another time-tested remedy to soothe sore throat. I always go straight to drinking any kind of drinks involving lemon and honey when my throat starts to tingle. I don’t have a specific recipe that I use, but this link HERE has plenty.
- Kao-tom (Boiled rice) – For Thais, “kao-tom” is the go to dish whenever someone is sick. Some call it porridge, but I believe a porridge would be more similar in texture with a dish we call “joke” or what the Chinese would call congee. With kao-tom, the grains are still intact and not “poridgey” (sorry for the lack of a better word.) Names aside, kao-tom is very easily digestable and very easy to swallow. Many variations of the dish exist; you can add any kind of meat you want into it from minced pork to chunks of white fish. At home, we usually enjoy it with minced pork and a hot Thai omelet. Many yummy recipes (in Thai) could be found HERE. Please let me know if you would like a translated version.
Despite all that I just mentioned, in my opinion, hot soups/ teas are, well, BLAH. It’s already boring enough being stuck in bed; sipping on tasteless liquid does not make life of the sick anymore joyous. Why can’t food for the sick be a little more inventive, interesting, and, most importantly, tasty? Today when I woke up, I didn’t want to get out of bed but I really needed something to drink to soothe my parched throat. As soon as I got up, I realized that I was hungry. I knew I wouldn’t be able to swallow that well, so my first instinct was to get someone to make me a bowl of kao-tom. However, I knew in my heart that kao-tom was not what I wanted. Eating a sick person’s dish would only make me feel sicker and my taste buds would be left craving for something else. So off I went, dragging my tired body downstairs to go raid the kitchen. And here’s what I made, the least sore-throat appropriate dish ever – Roti with condensed milk and vanilla ice-cream. I know all the oil from the butter and the cream from the dairy would only worsen everything..but boy did it cheer me up! (Plus, being sick gave me an excuse to not feel so guilty eating such fatty food.)