Oh, the dread hangover! Although by no means a purely seasonal affliction, hangovers sure do seem to occur much more frequently at this time of year. Blame it on too much quality time with relatives, a prevalence of cocktails wherever one turns, long, cold nights, or whatever it is that causes you to drink too heavily. The fact is that for many of us, a hangover is an ugly inevitably that becomes even more likely around the holidays.
Lucky for us (maybe), National Geographic has a feature up on hangover cures from around the world, and all of them are some sort of food or beverage. In the US, we supposedly cope with hangovers by drinking prairie oysters (a potent mocktail of tomato juice, raw egg yolk, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce), but we don’t personally know anyone who subscribes to this cure.
How else to deal when it feels as though your liver is about to secede from your body? The silver bullet in Poland is pickles, because “Polish hangover remedies are all about the sour,” pickled herring in Germany, and tripe soup in Romania, as well as in Mexico and Turkey. In the Netherlands, they abide by hair-of-the-dog and reach for pints of beer and the Japanese go for umeboshi plums.
Of everything listed, only one remedy sounds familiar: Italians drink coffee to banish pounding headaches, which is the hangover helper that everyone we know swears by, at least to some degree. Russians have the only non-food/drink thing on the list: birch leaf saunas, which quite frankly, sounds wonderful regardless of hangover or not.
We conducted a highly scientific poll over here at MenuPages, and it turns out that everyone has their own particular methods that they swear by. Results after the jump!
MP:Boston editor Leila craves burritos, quesadillas, bacon cheeseburgers, and pasta with bacon. Adam, editor of MP:SF desires “egg things, breakfast meats, gravy, (biscuits and gravy with sausage is a killer), black coffee” and spicy things as “dumping a lot of hot-sauce on an omelet has been known to do the trick for [him].” Helen, of MP:Chicago has a “totally specific hangover remedy” that consists of Jamaican beef patties served with “ice-cold non-diet Coke, from a glass, without ice” and it must, must be “two inches from the rim, precisely.” Meanwhile, all we ever want is either poached eggs with toast, or a cheeseburger drenched in ketchup, plus a tall glass of real (non-diet) Coke.
As far as even more specific remedies go, Adam once had a magical Mexican soup made of shrimp (see: National Geographic list!), ketchup, onions, and cilantro, plus other mystery ingredients. Similarly, Helen has dined on “hangover soup,” a spicy chicken broth loaded with kale and garlic, and crowned with a poached egg.
With all of these ideas in mind, we wish you the best in navigating the holidays — hopefully with greatly diminished hangovers.
Hangover Helpers [National Geographic]